Poetry and Me? I Don’t Think Its Going to Work Out

I don’t like poetry. I never read poetry for “fun” because of the simple reason that it’s not fun for me. Having been a student for basically my entire life, I’ve dissected more poetry than I have other things like frogs or brains. So, you might say I know a thing or two about it. I know two roads diverged in a yellow wood and some guy decided he had to be special and take the one no one went down (and then brag to everyone that he did). I know that Pablo Neruda had a weird obsession with broken objects, artichokes, and some poor woman in her garden. I know that English professors admire that Shakespeare (or maybe some other guy) put himself through the torture of writing in iambic pentameter-still not sure what it is, though. Above all else I know that I am “supposed” to feel some sort of connection to poetry. It’s like a song, teachers would say. It touches the emotions, I’ve been told.

I’d like to believe that my teachers genuinely meant what they said, but I also know that they were partly trying to justify their next question; what did I think it meant? I was supposed to be able to read a poem and repeat it back, except now in plain English, and that was it. Lesson over. But then there’s this philosopher named Theodor Adorno who said something else; “Permit me to repeat that we are concerned not with the poet as a private person, not with his psychology or his so-called social perspective, but with the poem as a philosophical sundial telling the time of history.”[1] He says that what the poet meant doesn’t help me learn anything; what’s more important is how I interpret it. I will go through this in more detail later, but his claim is that everyone can find a different meaning in the same piece of language. It depends on the life we live. I speak in the same language to as CEOs, stay at home moms, war refugees, and poets themselves. But we’re all very different. So then if I can read any poem in a way that is supposed to make it relatable to me, then I should be able to emotionally connect to it and have it mean something “special”.[2] This argument makes sense. I’ve put serious thought into this exact aspect of language and he has a point.

It just doesn’t happen for me.

As much as I don’t like poetry as a whole, there is one poem that stuck with me (at least as much as a poem can). It also highlights many of Adorno’s points. It’s about a priest who we’d call a mystic because he thinks that he met God. And no, it had nothing to do with a potato chip. Anyway, now that this priest, St. John, has met God, all he wants to do is to die; he wants to escape his earthly life and be with God again. The title of the poem “I am Dying because I do not Die” is kind of clever then, and a little sappy, but that’s not the point.

The point is that this specific poem highlights Adorno’s argument in On Lyric Poetry and Society in a few different ways. Adorno says that every lyric poem establishes someone as the speaker. And this is somehow a necessary step in making it about everyone. He says, “The “I” whose voice is heard in the lyric is an “I” that defines and expresses itself as something opposed to the collective, to objectivity.”[3] Well, from the very beginning St. John directs all the focus onto himself. The first words are “I live without living within myself.”[4] It doesn’t so much matter what he’s saying; it matters that he’s mentioned himself twice in the first verse. There are other examples of this: “I no longer live within myself,” “I am sorry for myself,” and “I will lament my life/so long as it is prolonged/because of my sins.”[5] Personally, I’d have to be on something strong to think this poem was about me. The poet is saying that he feels like he is missing a part of himself because he met God; there aren’t many of us who can relate to that. There are experts who say we can’t understand them at all: “In dealing with a language of the “unsayable,” critical analysis rejects this language as lacking in rigor, as a commentary too encumbered with images and impressions, it will encounter nothing more in the field of observation than psychological curiosities or small marginal groups.”[6] Does language have the power to describe something that we cannot see, touch, hear, etc.? Try describing love and see if you get any further than a bunch of other abstractions. Or maybe some physiological symptoms that could be caused by a hundred other things. We know that they aren’t love, but we don’t have a way to say it is. The same goes for describing a meeting with a divine entity.

After meeting God, I don’t think we could blame him for not feeling like he quite belongs. I know that sometimes my mind wanders out of the room in a boring meeting, but he literally feels like a part of him is gone; “Absent from you/what kind of life can I lead/but to suffer to death, /the cruelest death I’ve ever known?”[7] Now, if the “I” in this poem is criticizing anything, it would appear to be the world around him; he feels like he’s being held back. Given that having a face-to-face with God is more life-changing than getting your driver’s license-which might already make you want to skip town-the feeling of “dissent of the individual in relation to the group; an irreducibility of desire within the society that represses or masks it without eliminating it; a discontent within civilization,”[8] a commonly held feeling among mystics, is not unreasonable. He wants to get the fuck out.

As elegant as his poetry may be, St. John is really frustrated. Mystics were treated like crap because no one could understand the crazies that had “seen God”.[9] Life had, in fact, become scary for St. John, who felt worse than a fish out of water (Even the fish taken out of water/does not lack relief/for in the death that he suffers/death finally comes to his rescue.”[10]) At the same time, though, he’s too scared to die because he might not actually find God again. He’s oscillating back and forth between living being worse than dying and dying being more nerve-wracking than living (And if I take joy, my lord/in the hope of contemplating you/when I realize that I can lose you/my pain doubles”[11]).

This leaves us with a couple main points that make a whole lot of sense (not really): a) that he feels worse than a dying fish, b) that he doesn’t think he belongs on earth anymore, c) that he has horrible anxiety about actually dying, the one thing he’s asking for. And Adorno says I should be able to relate to all of this without a problem. No wonder I hate poetry.

Granted, this is not the whole story. Language has some tricks built into it that might back Adorno up. When you read the sentence “I don’t like poetry”, you imagine that it is about me, the writer of this essay. But what if it wasn’t? St. John never says “I, St. John of the Cross, born in Spain in 1542…”[12] or anything like that. If we don’t know who the “I” is, what’s to say it can’t be the reader? If the reader places himself in the poem, it can mean almost anything; everyone can interpret it differently.

This means that the poem doesn’t need to be about God. Of course, it can’t be about anything in the world, but I would imagine most people have had to make a tough decision before. If the poem becomes more about a rough teenage breakup vs staying in a dysfunctional high school relationship than about a miserable life vs dying in the hopes of meeting God, more people can read it and think “Oh yeah, that makes sense” because everyone, like the fish, is trying to find relief in these situations. Adorno says a more universal underlying theme like that is what makes a lyric poem “art” and that’s why we appreciate it.[13]

Even still, you might relate to a decision like this more easily, but it might not feel terribly consequential in the long run. But what if the poem were about questioning faith? This has the potential to be life changing. I mean, how many movies have we seen about a guy “finding God” after he stopped believing for some reason (example: the movie literally titled Questioning Faith or people in exorcism movies not believing in demons until their child levitates)? Well, this might have actually been why St. John wrote this poem in the first place. He never wanted anyone to practice religion the same way he did; “John is no Pelagian. He believes that God draws us to God’s own self by the utterance of God’s word in eternity, creation, and history.”[14]The last thing St. John wanted to do was overshadow God. But he clearly has some questions for the big man upstairs, and so do a lot of other people. Adorno says this is what makes the poem “collectivist” despite the fact that the poet wrote “I” 42 times.

Now this poem has been “deindividualized” because everyone is a part of it. Adorno says you can go through the same process with every other lyric poem. In fact, he says there’s no way for language to be used to go against the grain of society;[15] the acid-dropping hippie (who follows no rules) uses the same dictionary as the president of the United States (who should follow every rule). In the end, we can only read or listen to poetry through language, something that is bound by society. I live in this society, I speak the language, so Adorno says I should be able to relate to poetry through these universal concepts. Nothing should be outside of my reach if I can use language as a tool to access it.

In the case of St. John’s poetry, Adorno is right. St. John wanted to be a spiritual guide more than anything, and he wrote most of his poetry to give away for free so that people could learn from it.[16] It seems like St. John wanted to bring people together with his poetry. Even if he didn’t, Adorno makes it so that he did, and he applies this concept to every other lyric. He makes a good argument for it too. It’s not like I don’t believe him.

Parts of me wishes I could experience what he was talking about. Poetry is a phenomenon in Adorno’s eyes and I see it too for this reason: I could walk into a high school and ask the first kid I see high on crystal meth to interpret a poem for me and he would probably say something just as profound as his “expert” English teacher. There aren’t a lot of things you could do that with. I think I should be able to relate to poetry, too. There are references I’ve missed, jokes I don’t get, and tests I’ve failed because I don’t relate well to poetry. It’s a big part of our world. It’s a difficult situation to be in to not know what you don’t know, especially when so many people tell you that you should know it.


Works cited:

Adorno, Theodor W., and Rolf Tiedemann. Notes to Literature. Vol. 1. New York: Columbia UP, 1991. Print.

Rivers, Elias L. Renaissance and Baroque Poetry of Spain, with English Prose Translations. New York: Dell Pub., 1966. Print.

De Certeau, Michel, and Marsanne Brammer. “Mysticism.” Diacritics, vol. 22, no. 2, 1992

Moore, John P. “St. John of the Cross.” St.Anthony Messenger 12 2014: 14-8. ProQuest. Web. 14 Dec. 2016 .

Cunningham, Lawrence S. “St. John of the Cross, Mystic of the Light.” America Jan 30 2006: 22-5. ProQuest. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.

The Literary Intentions of the Law

It feels like we are constantly being told to “seize the moment” and to “appreciate the present”, but when we try to get ahold of what is right now, it slips right through our fingers. By what “is”, I mean what is true, real, and staring you back in the face. Society often tries to tell us that we need to live in the moment, but that is inherently impossible because everything is ever-changing. New wars start, new politicians take office, new environmental disasters occur. These types of changes often cause instability in the world that can make it hard to govern and maintain order, but we have law to keep us in check. The law is supposed to tell us what we can and cannot do when faced with certain circumstances. The language we call law has created a governing body that appears to have control over many aspects of our lives, such as what taxes we pay and where we can fire our guns. Upon further investigation, however, every word that we use to make law can be interpreted in different ways, making its practical application seem impossible.

While our capacity to communicate our thoughts through writing is something extraordinary, it is also something that we can negatively take advantage of because we often take creative license over writing. Reading literature is interpreting what someone else has written, and the act of reading law is no different. As individuals, we come up with our own meanings for everything that we read, and our interpretations stem from a number of factors. One crucial factor is the society in which we live, because our thoughts are immensely susceptible to the power of the situation. But society is a concept that is ever-developing and dynamic, which consistently changes our ways of thinking. So how does this fit into the law? And why is it even important? To start, even though law may be proven to be part of literature, no one other than literary critics care if they cannot convince anyone of their interpretations. It may be sad, but there are no real-life detriments. In contrast, the judge has the responsibilities of the literary critic to pull meaning out of written language, of the moral philosopher to decide what is right and wrong, and of the Pope to be someone that actually has an influence on daily life. But there are literally thousands of judges in the United States alone, each with their own moral code from their own upbringing, and the literary aspects of language allow each to make their own separate interpretation. This seems like a recipe for disaster. However, it is actually good in the wake of an ever-changing world.

The base of my argument requires proof that law can truly mean different things to different people. The example I am going to use is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution from the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I can start with what “the people” means; in the 1700’s when these laws were first written, only protestant, property owning, white males had the respect of the community. If you were a woman, non-white, or had a disability or different religion, you were not an intended recipient of the rights given by these laws. If you still think that this law could be beneficial to you, I could argue that being “secure” means giving the government control over everything, including your personal life and property. Then there is the question of what is an “unreasonable” search or seizure. Essentially anything, including race and gender, could cause suspicion, and with that, having to make an oath or to “affirm” your beliefs bears little weight. The word “probable” has the same ambiguity as unreasonable. Probable cause could come out of anything, including looks, ethnicity, past crimes, friends and family with past crimes, a zombie scare, or a full moon. Following this logic, the Fourth Amendment says that the government can search and seize you and your personal property for looking the wrong way and pissing someone off.

This is, of course, an extreme interpretation, but the exact opposite argument could be made as well. In that case, the Fourth Amendment could almost completely handcuff government law enforcers, potentially jeopardizing public safety. To make matters worse, many laws, including the Fourth Amendment, become even more ambiguous when applied to cases involving modern technology unimaginable to the framers of the Constitution. Consider the case of an American citizen with Fourth Amendment rights talking over the phone to someone in another country that does not grant the same rights, and imagine that the U.S. government has access to the recordings. Should they be able to search the recordings without probable cause, or even with probable cause ,but without a warrant? One interpretation says that,

Communicating with a person who lacks Fourth Amendment rights should not waive the rights of the person who has those rights. The Fourth Amendment should continue to fully protect the U.S. person who communicates with those lacking Fourth Amendment rights.

I would argue, on the other hand, that if you want to communicate with someone who does not have the same rights, then you risk your rights being frozen. There are many people abroad who want to do harm to America and its citizens. Does it not morally make sense to forgo some individual liberties to save even one life? The rapidly changing times and contexts necessitate very open and interpretable language, especially given the rate of technological advancement. Not once does the Constitution or Bill of Rights mention computers, online data, or international servers because those were not things when these laws were written, so we are left to our own devices to decide how these laws apply to modern situations. If my perception of the world were different, my interpretation might be different as well, and this is my point. We must make judgements and the ones we do make are influenced by our environments, and while this may seem problematic because everyone is free to use their own processes to come to their own decisions, this actually functions to keep laws relevant.

There is no way that everyone in the world would be able to agree upon how to handle some of the most controversial topics in existence. “The very existence of written constitutions with substantive limitations on future conduct is evidence of skepticism, if not outright pessimism, about the moral character of future citizens.” That is to say, humans will always be testing their limits and the law needs to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is illegal. The law, therefore, grows out of what is decided to be bad or unlawful. In the case of the Fourth Amendment, the government arresting you for no reason without a warrant is the described mistake, and someone then has to face the consequences. But everyone has their own idea about what they think the law should say, and each thinks they are more right than the other.

The point that is relevant here is not only that private lawmaking takes place through religious authority, contract, property, and corporate law (and of course through all private associational activity), but also that from time to time various groups use these universally accepted and well-understood devices to create an entire nomos – an integrated world of obligation and reality from which the rest of the world is perceived…We witness normative mitosis.

This process could launch us into indecisive lawlessness, but it is our ability to consolidate and interpret law that keeps us in check.

All words still have meaning that should not and cannot be ignored. Any piece of text not written in complete gibberish can convey an intended meaning even if there is ample room for interpretation. This is especially true for the law; although there may be some breathing room, we know that each law was written with a purpose in mind. In his book Sonnet LXV and the “Black Ink” of the Framers’ Intention, Charles Fried takes a solid stand for the recognition of and respect for the framers of law. His argument is that you cannot interpret any law in any way that you want because this makes you a framer as well. Each word in a piece of legal writing has a reason for being there, much like in poetry. They all strive to come together to say what is lawful and what is not, so we cannot all become our own personal framers of law if there is any chance of maintaining order. Quite simply, not everyone should be free to interpret the law.

While one interpretation cannot satisfy all, it should be the ultimate goal to not disregard any substantiated opinions. The literary aspects of legal language allow us to do just that, and this is my main point. “General terms are not mere compendia of the specific instances imagined by those individuals who first enunciated them. What the miracle of language requires is that words, ideas, and concepts reach new instances.” The general terms are the ones that not only make law literary, but that also make it viable through time. The ambiguities in legal language save laws from going obsolete with every change in society. Having unclear laws is actually a blessing in disguise because it allows them to stand up against shifts in society and new challenges. It is important to understand that law does not have the capacity to rule everything we do in our daily lives, and it should not be able to. The better function of law, the one that comes out of its literary qualities, is to tell us not exactly what we will do in a very specific situation, but rather what we should do when faced with a set of circumstances. Our literary-law system saves us from spending our time and resources constantly coming up with new laws for every given situation and gives us a way to recognize and react to crime more efficiently because established laws can be applied to different yet related sets of circumstances.

Works Cited

Cover, Robert M. ‘Foreword: Nomos and Narrative’. Harvard Law Review 97


Fried, Charles. “Sonnet LXV and the ‘Black Ink’ of the Framers’ Intention.” Harvard Law Review, vol. 100, no. 4, 1987.

Kerr, Orin S. “The Fourth Amendment and the Global Internet” Stanford law review 67.2 (2015): 285-329. ProQuest. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Levinson, Sanford, and Steven Mailloux. Interpreting Law and Literature: A Hermeneutic Reader. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1988. Print. 168

U.S. Const. amend. IV

The Emotional Power of Language


What I am about to attempt to do is going to seem like a complete contradiction. It may even seem like something out of Inception. The question of whether or not authors need to write about the “truth” has been in the background of literature throughout its history. To defend both sides of the claim, there are many arguments, which are my focus. One school of thought is that authors that write well enough can either make their readers look past the falsities of the writing or convince them of another truth altogether. For readers like us, people with a decent amount of experience with literature and language in general, this is a scary thought. No one wants to admit that they are gullible enough to fall for a false reality, but we have come to find that words have more power than we originally imagined. The contradiction that I want to argue, then, comes when I try to convince you that I am telling you the truth when I say that you have been forced to believe total lies through literature and other articles just like this one.

To start, it is important to realize just how gullible and impressionable the human race is. There have been countless examples of the blind leading the blind throughout history, but there are none better than those of Germany and Russia during World War II. In their respective countries, both Hitler and Stalin were able to rise to power through their mastery of rhetoric and oration. Despite their arguments being based on complete fabrications, they connected to the hungry, tired, and generally unhappy populations of their nations and promised to bring them out of their despair. The important point is that both leaders made their moves after revolution and war when life for the average citizen was at its worst. Times like these are when people just want to hear what someone else can do for them.

The exact same scenario can be seen in George Orwell’s Animal Farm in which a group of animals stage a revolution to take over their farm from the abusive owner, Mr. Jones. In the aftermath of the revolution, it is the pigs, the wisest of the animals, who assume the positions of leadership. As the story progresses, one of the pigs, Snowball, is forced out by another, Napoleon, leaving a power vacuum that Napoleon is more than happy to fill. As the sole leader of the group, Napoleon begins to lie about everything to make his life better and to keep the rest of the group under his control. He makes claims that Snowball was the enemy the entire time, that food rations were up, and that everyone was working less, but these were all lies to keep the others in check.

Does this scenario sound familiar? It should because every character in Animal Farm represents a person or group from Stalin’s Soviet Union. Napoleon is, of course, Stalin himself. Boxer, the faithful work horse, is the ignorant proletariat. The sheep that constantly chant whatever the pigs want represent the means by which the Stalinist government spread propaganda. If you kept going through the rest of the animals, you would find as equally accurate examples for each of the rest of them, so given the disastrous nature of this novel, it is clear what Orwell was trying to comment (Fadaee 23).

Just as Stalin did in Russia, Napoleon used his words to convince the rest of the group to follow him. Although he often worked through Squealer, the pig known for his talent with words, it is through language in general that he won the trust that he later took advantage of, as shown by Boxer’s mottos of “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right”. There were two aspects of farm life after the revolution that catalyzed his rise to power, the first being that the animals on the farm became just as desperate as the Soviets were after the Russian revolution. Even if it was just by giving the dogs an extra biscuit, once Napoleon proved that he could improve the quality of life in even the smallest ways, they were willing to listen to anything he had to say. It was from this point on that everything he said carried the same joyful tone as always but now contrasted the world around them. Rations were down but the statistic sheets said they were up; they worked harder but should now be “proud” of the work they were doing, and the good of the pigs began to come before everyone else for the most convoluted reasons. The common animals, though, were blinded by the excitement and accepted these lies as truth.

What you could probably notice is that I have used the word “truth” a number of times already, but what does that really mean? Truth is inherently a difficult idea for us to pin down because of the limitations that we have to explore and describe it. Other than through language, there is no way to describe truth, which could become something that goes far beyond the capacities of words and sentences. As Friedrich Nietzsche writes in his essay “On truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense,” it is entirely possible that there is no “truth” that humans could hope to achieve because humans try to impose themselves on the world to force it to make sense in their terms. This, he argues, cannot lead to anything even close to an overarching truth. As proof, Nietzsche writes, “The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages” (116). Should this hold true, I need to be willing to accept that the truth that I am going to talk about is confined to one that humans have created, one that is inherently human-based, and one that humans therefore can change at will. And that is perfectly fine, for if we do not accept it, everything that I am about to write and everything we have all ever said, read, or heard means nothing. I set this limit because the truth for our intents and purposes should be considered something not only as equally flawed as humans, but that can also be played with and molded by humans through words.

The second aspect of farm life that proved beneficial to Napoleon comes from this very idea; the pigs’ mastery of language gave them the greatest advantage. All of the animals could speak, some could read at a very modest level, and some could memorize and remember about as well as a two year old, but the pigs could do it all with adult human proficiency. Their grasp on language is what ultimately gave them their overwhelming control. It was said that, “The birds did not understand Snowball’s long words, but they accepted his explanation, and all of the animals set to work to learn the new maxim by heart” (Orwell 25). Later in the novel Napoleon was able to alter the animal commandments because no one could read or remember them well enough to prove that they were changing, and when they caught Squealer fall off his ladder while painting them, no one wanted to. One of the most surprising parts of this story is that none of the other animals ever put a stop to any of this.

The real question, though, is whether they ever really could have stopped it. For one thing, they did not have the linguistic power to know what was being written or said most of the time. For another, they could not remember a time before the revolution, so no one knew if life was better or worse. But above all, they were too deeply involved in what Napoleon had been telling them to be willing to go against it. A similar phenomenon can been seen in our society right now with a certain political candidate running for president. This is in no way becoming a political discussion, but those of you who do not agree with Mr. Trump will easily agree with this argument. I also know that many of you who, like me, are moderately on Mr. Trump’s side will agree as well.

What Mr. Trump is saying, whether it be true or not, is fundamentally controversial, and to put it nicely, his delivery is rough. As worldly adults, we notice this, but it does not have the profound impact on us that it has on children. There is something called the “Trump Effect,” which is affecting the more impressionable and gullible younger generations, and it has been well documented in schools across the country. On one hand, “It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported” (SPLC). On the other hand, the same source writes,

Other students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.

The first part of the Trump Effect shows that when people hear something they like (in this case, scared and ignorant Americans hear that he is going to deport minorities), they repeat it to everyone, including their children, who go on to repeat it to others. Even though he almost never says anything with any style or grace, what he says proves to have a big enough impact to stick in people’s minds. The second part goes a bit deeper; these children wonder how anyone could support a man saying such horrible things about them and their families. But even the children could understand an argument that Socrates made in Plato’s Gorgias.

Imagine a court room where the judge is a chef, the jury is a group of kids, and the defendant is a doctor. The chef/judge wants to lock up the doctor because he hurts the children by poking and prodding them and making them ingest disgusting liquids while he, the chef, makes the children good food that is pleasurable to eat. The children do not understand that it is through the discomfort that the doctor causes that they are healthy enough to eat and enjoy the food the chef gives them, but of course, none of the children want to hear that. The children, in real life terms, represent how Socrates views human nature in general. (Gorgias)

The main point that we have to understand is that even though Mr. Trump may not be a good speaker, he is the judge in the metaphor. He speaks to people’s emotions, and that is what reels them in. They hear what they want to hear, and this is good enough for them, just like it is for the children that do not want to listen to the doctor. If we accept, therefore, that people are gullible to what they want to hear because it plays to their emotions, I want to examine more thoroughly how Napoleon does this. From the beginning the reader is told that Napoleon is the type of speaker that is very direct and to the point, contrasting his more outgoing enemy, Snowball, who speaks with a more colorful style. There are numerous examples of this style, such as the moment after the windmill falls when he simply says, “Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!” (Orwell 50). So what is most impressive is that he garners the same type of emotional response from the animals from this short discourse that another, lesser leader, would hope to get from a prolonged speech. In some aspects, but certainly not all, he and Mr. Trump have this in common; they speak very directly to the ignorant hearts of their listeners because they know this will get a reaction. There is no need for fluffy decoration.

Then you might ask if that goes against everything I have been arguing this entire time, that you need to be a master of rhetoric to be persuasive against the truth, but the answer is no. In reality, it alters my argument to show that you do not always need “good” writing to convince someone of lies, something politicians prove every day. Plus, there are many different forms of “good language” shown by the contrast between Napoleon and Snowball. It is also, however, not enough to just tell the truth in many cases because the idea of truth is so ambivalent. We saw an example of this when the doctor could not speak his argument well enough to the children to convince them. Therefore, if truth is not good on its own and if you do not necessarily need good language to be convincing if you speak to affect emotions, the best way to write about something that is not the truth might be to use good language that plays to the emotions of those receiving the language because that takes the truth out of play. At that point, whether the author is writing truths or lies makes no difference to the reader because they are too captured by the literature to want to make the effort to find the difference. Emotions are powerful, and although they help us in many situations, they also cause us to make the wrong decision countless times in our daily lives in everything from the food we eat to the people we fall in love with. Emotions could not care less about the truth, so it makes perfect sense for literature to use them against you to bypass the truth.

Works Cited

Costello, Maureen B. Splcenter. Rep. Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

Fadaee, Elaheh. “Symbols, Metaphors and Similes in Literature: A Case Study of “Animal Farm”” Journal of English and Literature 2.2 (2011): 19-27. Academic Journals. Feb. 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense. S.l.: Aristeus, 2012. Print.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. London: Penguin, 2003. Print.

Plato, and Malcolm Schofield. Gorgias, Menexenus, Protagoras. Trans. Tom Griffith. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.