1. Read the novella Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin and the essay “Difference and Survival” by Audre Lorde.
2. Engage with both readings through ONE of these prompts
(200-word minimum; Deadline: Wednesday 3/29 before the class)
Analyzing and integrating the following quote from Audre Lorde, discuss how does the novella challenge traditional notions of beauty and gender? What commentary does it make on societal norms and expectations?
“Which differences are positive and which negative are determined for us by a society that has been already established, and so must seek to perpetuate itself, faults as well as virtues… and of course so long as the existence of human differences means one must be inferior, the recognition of those differences will be fraught with guilt and danger.” (Lorde, 174)
“To excel is considered a positive difference, and so you will be encouraged to think of yourselves as the elite. To be poor, or of Color, or female, or homosexual, or old is considered negative, and so these people are encouraged to think of themselves as surplus. Each of these imposed definitions has a place not in human growth and progress, but in human separation, for they represent the dehumanization of difference.” (Lorde, 174)
Thinking on this quote by Audre Lorde, elaborate on the narrator’s decision to transform his Beauty Salon into a mortuary. How does the narrator deal with the imposed idea of being a surplus?
“I must choose to define my difference as you must choose to define yours, to claim it and to use it as a creative before it is defined for you and used to eradicate any future, any change… the house of your difference is the longing for your greatest power and your deepest vulnerability. It is an indelible part of your life’s arsenal.” (Lorde, 176)
Using this quote by Audre Lorde as inspiration, examine how the narrator “claims” his difference as a source of creativity and vulnerability.