Monday, March 30, 2009

Language Leaves a Mark

In Good Old Neon, David Foster Wallace makes this observation about language: “Words and chronological time create all these total misunderstandings of what's really going on at the most basic level. And yet at the same time English is all we have to try to understand it and try to form anything larger or more meaningful and true with anybody else, which is yet another paradox.” One of the beautiful things about writing is the author’s ability to use language, an inherently bias form of communication, to tell a story. No matter the subject, there are innumerable words that can be put into innumerable orders. The author chooses specific words in a specific order. Nabokov executes this beautifully. Maybe it is possible for a 12 year old girl to be aware of her sexuality and its power, thus incriminating her in her own rape. Maybe that is ridiculous. I side with Edgar. Either way, Nabokov has constructed Humbert’s argument so that the reader is forced to examine the construction of this argument. We are forced to examine the words and the order. Never have I thought so much about language! And how weird it is. Juxtaposing Lolita with the Literary Theory further highlights Language as a Symbol. How is it that these marks force us to question rape and morality? It is in no way a direct experience. However, I can’t help but feel some sort of emotional stress from these marks and lines. This is not a very well constructed argument, sorry.

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