The Appellant's Tale Analysis

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The story “The Appellant’s Tale” by David Herd, demonstrates the devastating effect when one’s voice is taken from them. For many refugees, the only things they are able to bring to a detention center are the clothes on their back and the tale of their life’s journey. This is the case for the old man in Herd’s story, who must fight to keep hold of his last possession: his life story of moving and living in the UK. The UK Border Agency appears not only to disregard his story but even invents a new story for him; without a voice, the old man becomes powerless. It’s to this end that I suggest that Herd’s story warns of the dangers of censorship and the need for greater transparency throughout the immigration process, as humanity can triumph…show more content…
The first is by suppressing the voice of the immigrants by making it very difficult for them to tell their story. When the old man is first arrested, he is told “you need a solicitor”, which he doesn’t have, and is then locked in a room “without telephone reception” (73) for twelve hours. How can they inform the old man that he needs to get into contact with a solicitor and then make it impossible for him to contact anyone? This is part of their strategy: when “you don’t have a solicitor… that’s it, they bring you here and they put you on a plane.” (73). Once the UKBA knows that you don’t have legal representation, they make sure to prevent you from being able to contact one, which conveniently ensures they are able to deport almost anyone they choose. When he finally does get a solicitor, they then move him to a different part of the UK, but he has the same troubles finding a new solicitor: “you can’t use your phone… [it’s] almost impossible to call a representative” (79), making use of the tactic a second time. The UKBA goes as far as to attempt to reduce the old man to a “nobody” when they “request anonymity” (80) during his trial. The dictionary gives anonymous the definition “not named or identified” as it would apply to paperwork, but also “lacking individuality, distinction, or recognisability” (marriam-webster). By requesting anonymity, they are…show more content…
However, it is also shown there is hope when voices are able to be heard. Herd’s aim, as I’ve tried to highlight, is to bring forth the problems of a system that is based on censorship and how transparency could prevent unnecessary suffering. With help from the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, the man is able to share his story which ultimately returns his personhood and leads to his freedom. In the end, being able to share his story anonymously is his final victory, and will hopefully aid other immigrants in having their voices

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