Thursday, May 04, 2006

Style lesson 10

in this final lesson Williams discusses the ethical responsibilities that writers have towards their readers. he talks about the importance of trying to be clear so that your readers wont have to try to understand you. he says that responsible writers make ideas no simpler than they deserve, but no more difficult than they have to be.

he sites the golden rule of writing as: "Write to others as you would have others write to you." (Williams 179).

he then warns that if you are consistently hard to understand and seem to the reader to be arrogant, then a reputation will build. you will be thought of as incomprehensible and arrogant. the personality that you infuse into your writing is vitally important, as it shows your reader your personality, you should make it one worthy of a reputation.

he says that it is vital to both be clear and memorable, "what really counts, after all, is not what we understand as we read, but how well we remember it the next day." (Williams 180).

he describes clarity as an idealogical value, one that is collectively agreed upon by a community.

he then delves into an in depth analysis of Lincoln's second inaugurational speech. his main point for the analysis is to show us that though Lincoln used manipulation in his words, he was still within the ethical bounderies. he makes his point by steering his listeners in a certain direction, and he never is unethical in that respect.

this book all in all was an OK read. it wasnt something that i would read on an airplane per se, but it was ok as a class text. it never outright put me to sleep which is a positive for an assigned text.


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