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Lorde’s Essay

What does Lorde mean whens he says the Master’s Tools can never dismantle the master’s house? How is this related to language and sticky definitions and contexts?

Upon reading this essay, my first impression of her quote, “the master’s tools will
never dismantle the master’s house,” did not mean much until I considered the context around it – which is the idea that women are taught to ignore the differences around them as opposed to taking those differences, embracing them, and using them to change the way things are at that time. Lorde goes on to talk about how using “the master’s tools” will not change things even though it might alleviate the discomfort for a while but not change.

So to relate this to language and “sticky” definitions and contexts, my interpretation of it is that rhetoric should not succumb to stereotype. There are connotations which go with certain words that are less than pretty because of the situation in which they are exposed to the public. As a result, those words (or topics) bring a certain bias to them that makes it hard to discuss when there needs to be a discussion.


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