Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Language Appreciation

"The years took all the fight out of Janie's face. For a while she thought it was gone from her soul."

Hurston's simple words combine to form such a powerful statement. Without even reading the passage, one can already understand the troubles that the character is undergoing. I think we can all take a lesson from Hurston. She is an example of something that is perfectly concise, and far from wordy. Each word has definite purpose. Less truly is more here.

Hurston masters contrasting dialogue with narration; discreetly adding personal experiences to her character's lives; unifying two very different worlds- that of her characters and the one in which we live. Her words are eloquent yet crass, plain yet intricate. One would think so many sharp contrasts would make for difficult reading and quirky tempo. But Hurston makes it work.

I like the quote above. It doesn't have any flowery imagery. It doesn't write another novel unto itself. It doesn't meander or try to trick you or hide something. It is direct, open, and honest. It states so little, but it tells so much about Janie. It reveals her strife, her depression, her lack of motivation, the change that has occurred in her. It's not crucial to the overall greatness of the novel, but it's still pretty important as a sentence in general. It's not something you have to read into a whole lot, but then again, maybe Hurston felt this way before too.

Hurston is ambiguous yet telling all at once.

She has the whole contrast business down.

She certainly is a great writer.

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