Monday, October 25, 2010

Poetic Writing

(As he's looking around at nature) "Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind these things. They were in them, in all of them. How deaf and stupid I have been, he thought, walking on quickly. When anyone reads anything which he wishes to study, he does not despise the letters and punctuation marks and call them illusion, chance, and worthless shells, but he reads them, he studies and loves them, letter by letter. But I, who wished to read the book of the world and the book of my own nature, did presume to despise the letters and signs." -  Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, page 40.

Not only are the stories contained within books beautiful, but the words and experience by which they are conveyed.

"So I lay there thinking that if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane."- Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

I read that today, and while I've read both the book and the quote (online) before, it struck me as particularly beautiful. This was at the beginning of math class, and I pulled out a bit of paper and started writing something of a blog post on it:

"Prose, good prose, aims to better accomplish what poetry sets out to do in ways that are more easily understood. It makes it more relatable and distracts the conscious mind with story while quietly engaging the subconscious with speculation and contemplation."

Now, I don't know whether or not I agree with that, even though I wrote it. It's true for John's books, certainly, but what about other things? Not as much, and prose comes with its own limitations and complications.
Yet isn't that why we read the books we read in English? For the emotion and deeper meaning through symbolism and allegory?

As I was reading the quoted passage of Siddhartha today, it suddenly came to mind that what I was reading was very similar in type to the things in Paper Towns (and the other three, but mostly that one). It was just worded in a different style. It's still a book about a teenager on a journey. Granted, Siddhartha was written awhile ago, but I think John's books do a better job of it, given that those characters and narrations styles are much more similar to us readers. 

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