The Appellant's Tale Analysis

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TITLE In the story, The Appellant’s Tale, David Herd constructs an emotional recount of his interview with a refugee. An appellant refers to someone convicted of a crime, which is often the way refugees are viewed however, this perception is ultimately what removes their right to be a citizen of any country. The story is a recount of the narrator’s interview, told in second person, with a refugee from Nigeria, who moved to England to pursue a career in journalism with the BBC. Storytelling is a sensitive process, but Herd is able to illustrate the dehumanization present in today’s world. To dehumanize a person is to remove their human qualities, autonomy and agency (). David Herd in The Appellant’s Tale attempts to dehumanize the refugee interviewee…show more content…
The second person narration used in The Appellant’s Tale attempts to create a relationship between reader and narrator by removing the boundaries often imposed on a reader that separates him/her from the story. The use of “you” draws readers into the story and makes them feel as if they are directly in the narrative. As one reads this story it is impossible to not characterize yourself as the “you”, you feel implicated, which evokes a defensive response. However, breaking the common boundaries between the readers and the detainee is vital in achieving the final goal of dehumanizing the refugee as it captures the removal of their voice. A narration of your own story eliminates your agency and autonomy, which is a feeling experienced by many refugees. As the narrator says, “Nobody knows who you are” (78), exemplifying how the refugee’s identity is lost, leaving the refugee without agency. Additionally, referring to someone as “you” creates distance and is the subject to which things happen to, whereas “me” or “I” would refer to a specific person giving the detainee a voice as a known person. The refugee being spoken about in the second person leaves them trapped in their circumstances and emphasizes the anonymity and lack of freedom. Therefore, this second person narrated story highlights the powerlessness, loss of agency and dehumanization that refugees are subjected to in today’s
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