1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Word Power = Actual Power?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Dec 19, 2010.

    Did the styles of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens have their poetic and weighty effect because of a depth in themselves, or did they surpass their contemporaries by practicing and consciously employing techniques of rhetoric until it became natural to them? If they developed their voices, and their voices were not inherent in them, why can't any one of us develop a voice as powerful as theirs? Are we to equate the power of a voice to the power of the person who projects it? No doubt they had not the slightest ability over any one of us, except for their ability to evoke the feeling of power in people who read their words. What do you think?
     
  2. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Words do have a great deal of power behind them. It's not coincidence that nearly every fantasy novel you read that has some kind of magic in it requires an evocation of the magic being cast. Hell, the Bible is one of the few documents ever written that explores the idea explicitly; the character of Jesus could go around and with only a phrase, cure people or bring them back from the dead. There's a great deal of power in words.

    Sadly, it's a power that's become diluted throughout the years. Poe and Dickens were writers who wrote for their livelihood, and wrote every moment of every day if they could. No doubt that writers here do the same thing, but most writers today don't. There's not enough money in it, so most people decide to have a day job whilst writing on the side.

    Combine that with all the distractions there are in American culture that simply didn't exist for writers back in the day, and you have a great deal of the writing community simply too distracted to find their voice and the power therein.
     
  3. JohnathanRS
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    JohnathanRS Member

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    I would say it is a combination, but would have to lean more towards a depth in themselves. Also, while they were continuing practicing and employing those techniques, they were also doing this in their own lives—through practical experiences, even if it was threw their own imagination.

    There is nothing saying that you can’t develop a voice as powerful as theirs. However, there is one fact that I honestly believe is true—in order to evoke those places, that go beyond our limited capabilities, you have to experience hardship, a emotional depth, that is unattainable without breaking your own limitations. This is something, that most people in current times--just haven't experienced.
     
  4. Pook
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    Pook Member

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    I think today we have too many options and the power of financial gain propelling the arts and media along in such a way that even the most 'gifted' would be lost in a sea of newcomers. Another point is that we have many more options in obtaining media and art these days and therefore we can easily move from one area to another without fixating on a particular talent.

    Poe was terribly morbid and had an 'interesting' life that people probably found to be novelty as well as the actual writings he created.

    Thats my opinion.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Despite my maiden name being made famous by Poe - I haven't read much of him.

    The power of Charles Dickens I think comes from his strong characters, moving stories, sense of humour. Not to mention his desire to change things being a didactic writer. I enjoy many comforts in 2010 that men like Dickens helped to bring about in the UK.
     
  6. Irontrousers
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    Irontrousers Member

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    Just write clearly. Learn to express yourself unambiguously and without trying to bludgeon your readers with emotion. Anyone can learn to do that much; anything more I wouldn't even bother worrying about.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ... i must deal with this first, since it's self-contradictory and a bit confusing... according to whom is there 'no doubt' of that?... and what do you mean by 'feeling of power in people who read their words'?... how did what they wrote empower readers in any way?

    ...i can't agree that they didn't have 'the slightest ability' beyond what most humans have, since they were possessed of an inborn talent to practice the writer's art at a level that few of our species have ever attained, or will ever attain...

    ...i've no doubt they did just that, as it's s.o.p./de rigueur for any artist...

    If they developed their voices, and their voices were not inherent in them,
    ...an erroneous assumption, imo... their 'voices'/'talents' were 'inherent in them' imo... and only needed practice to bring them to perfection...

    ...because only a very rare few are blessed with the innate ability of those two and others of their stature... if all could do it, then there'd be no 'greats' and nothing to aspire to, would there?... nor any professional writers, since everyone would be capable of doing their own writing...

    ...i have no idea what you mean here... what are you calling 'power'?... as for equating poe to dickens, in re effecting change, only dickens attempted to do so consciously... and i can't see what changes poe's works could have brought about, and he certainly didn't seem to be using his writings for any purpose other than to entertain his readers...
     
  8. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    This is like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. The world may never know! :)
     
  9. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Sorry, I meant to say "impression of power".
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    still makes no sense to me... i must be missing something...
     
  11. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I meant to say, that when one reads the work of Charles Dickens or Edgar Allan Poe, they feel that the words have power, and thus, that the authors themselves have minds deep enough to give an impression of such power. I don't mean the power to persuade or produce any outcome, but the kind that reflects personal energy. (Not that I believe in that stuff.)

    Do you get what I'm trying to say now?
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sort of... but still can't get the connection between 'the power of words' [which usually means the ability to affect the reader in some way and/or to bring about change of some sort] and what you seem to be thinking of as 'personal energy' as i can't figure out what you mean by that...
     

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