360°

After sixteen weeks of classes, I scrolled down my blog in order to see the evolution that I have made thanks to this course. And as I was reading my first post, I actually felt ashamed and wanted to delete it straight. I actually don’t recognize myself through it, at all, and I barely remember writing it…

Instead of deleting it, I think I can do something much more useful. Now that the class is over and that I have spent a whole semester questioning myself about style and language, I think that I have enough skills to criticize my own work.

Through these 4 months of classes, we have been thinking a lot about the question of how to adopt an interesting perspective and more specifically to

ANGLES

Looking for an angle has been everybody’s quest, and I assume that I have been pretty lucky due to my “foreign eye” on English language. I didn’t find it right from the start though, which (partly) justify the mediocrity of this first post.

Thus, to correct myself, here is what I would do after. I won’t change my arguments because surprisingly, I still have the same opinion: Style and substance, to me, are tightly connected. However, I would definitely use a more personal perspective, especially by illustrating what I say with concrete examples of my experience in this class. To talk about the choice of words for instance, I would have provide examples like this: saying “the scent of her skin” has another effect on the reader than saying “the smell of her epidermis”.  Yet there is one point in my argumentation that I would review. I wrote, at the very end that “style is used to make the content understood by the reader”. This is partly true, and I still think that split up form and content is risky. However, I would talk about some writers of the “Art for art’s sake” movement, who think that style should, in a way, only remain aesthetic; and I would possibly quote Charles Baudelaire and talk about my awful experience of Les Fleurs du Mal as a junior high school student who had to deal with his absolutely gorgeous (but) meaningless poetry.

I am not saying that this review is the right one, but at least it is a personal one and it is faithful to my angle as a foreign and little-experienced girl.

Finding a good angle is essential to captivate the reader. I don’t know if that works for my own work, I guess that I don’t have enough experience to step back that far on my own writing. However, I have experienced it when I take off my writer’s hat and put on my reader’s one. Reading my classmates’ blogs is a very good exercise. Don’t ask me which one is my favorite: I won’t be able to choose. At the moment, I haven’t any particular favorite style, but it’s true that some enthrall me more than others. And to the first question of my teacher (« what is style? ») I would say that I still have no answer, but that clicking any link in this list would give him a good impression of what style – whatever its definition is – can do.

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