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Keeping Close At Home By Bell Hooks

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Keeping Close to Home by bell hooks

Bell hooks’ “Keeping Close to Home” an excerpt from “Talking Back” published in 1989 is a significant piece of literature as it’s timeless views are still relevant to humanity today. Amongst the essay’s careful construction, strong opinions and clear perspectives evoke in the reader the urge to agree, ponder and question hooks’ thoughts to form their own response. The reader is informed of hooks’ experiences in her journey of life as a member of a proletarian society of a black community. It, along with compelling emotive language also enables the reader to see through her lenses into her intention of the text, which is the importance of staying rooted to one’s kin and community wherever one may travel
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Although her ego desires assimilation in the bourgeoisie community, it is filtered by her superego that has been influenced by her kin. Subsequently, this affects the choices she makes in day to day life. What would be the result if the superego is unable for such a strong stand? An individual who has no values instilled in him through his upbringing would be misled often. A person without strong values would constantly adapt into new sets of beliefs and will consequently lose all self cognizance; “we gradually assume a mindset similar to those who dominate and oppress… we lose critical consciousness” (p.78) hooks explains. A person without a strong set of beliefs that have been affected by kin, society and upbringing will very easily be assimilated. Thus she urges the reader throughout the text to critically self-reflect on the choices they make as they are the absolute necessity to avoid assimilation in any alterations in life.

Class difference is a key theme in the text; it is the web expertly woven through each experience and opinion. It is an issue that is faced globally today, thus hooks’ timeless perspective is extremely relevant to the wider world. Hooks mentions something of much significance; “I found that classmates believed “lower class” people had no beliefs and values.” (p.76). Hegemonic “white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy” (p.81) and people of higher classes and bourgeois speak
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