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The danger of a single story

November 29th, 2009

Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become. It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power…Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of another person….The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is one novel I really enjoyed reading last year and at Racialicious is a video of Adichie’s fantastic talk on the harm that literature can do by giving us only ‘a single story.’ It’s so relevant in the context of the endless debates on what is ‘authentic’ Indian writing.

The talk is about 20 mins long, but every single word there earns its place and makes it totally worth your time.

apu The Literary life

  1. November 29th, 2009 at 18:53 | #1


  2. December 1st, 2009 at 07:54 | #2

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. December 2nd, 2009 at 20:35 | #3

    Absolutely loved it Apu!! It’s so true and one never gives it a thought - single stories are incomplete, no doubt.

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