Shame And Self-Acceptance In Dorothy Allison's Trash

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There is a sharp contrast between shame and self-acceptance. One must psychologically determine which they will let dictate their actions. Shame tends to impede one’s own progression of this self-acceptance. This is an apparent feature in Dorothy Allison’s “Trash”, as she navigates between the two interchangeably by giving the reader a taste of her personal life. In this autobiography she allows the reader to delve into the personal and dark times in her life. As well as the highlights and strong points in her life. Allison’s mental dissension is portrayed through her family’s poverty, unrealistic expectations of society, and her lesbian identity.
Allison struggles with her self-acceptance greatly in the chapter titled “Mama”, here it is made
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In the chapter titled “Monkeybites” it is evident how Allison is reluctant to accept herself for who she is and to allow herself to be vulnerable to love. In this chapter Allison speaks on various lovers she has had, one of them being Toni. In the text Allison explains that for her lovemaking was nothing more than just sex to her. While for Toni it was much more than that, it was love. Here it is as if Allison is putting up a barrier between her and Toni in order to keep herself from being vulnerable and letting someone in. Once again the feeling of needing to protect herself. In the text Allison spoke of an experience that she had as a child when she was bitten by a monkey. The representation of this monkey was more significant in terms of representing Allison as a person. The monkey represented her fear, her fight against being vulnerable, and the metaphor of her being caged in. In the text it states, “They dropped the monkey, cage and all, into the center of the lake” (p. 86). This action represents the suppressing or drowning of Allison’s insecurities and shame which in turn could possibly lead to her own
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