Texts in Conversation
Why is it important to look over texts using other texts? This seems like a crazy question. At least I thought so. However, after a class discussion, the reason to do it seemed clear to me. You do it to understand both texts. There are two conclusions you receive from reading each text separately. Reading them hand in hand, you start to form one clearer conclusion. In Chinua Achebe’s Language and the Destiny of Man, there is a quote from T.S. Eliot that allowed analyzing the political correctness in the writing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail.
The paragraph succeeding Eliot’s lines in Achebe’s text is quite articulate. This to me means that this paragraph is of great importance. Chinua must have planned out every word and made sure that each word can lead to a better understanding. Other than the reason to sound like a genius, he wrote with great diction to get his point across and state how important these lines from Eliot are. This line from Achebe best describes why I believe this paragraph is so important, “And let us not imagine, even the most prosaic among us, that this concern and the stringent practice Eliot advocates are appropriate only to poets” (Achebe 510). I believe that Chinua is straight forward in how he feels this addition to his text is of great importance to understand.
Now for the words that sparked my intrigue to even think of rereading Martin Luther King Jr.’s text, “The common word exact without vulgarity, / The formal word precise but not pedantic, / The complete consort dancing together…” (Eliot quoted by Achebe, 510). At first read, that may seem slightly overwhelming. The best way to go through it is to break down each individual line and understand the meaning of each. The first part of the first line speaks of “common word,” this would be words that we speak every day in normal conversations. The second part of that line has “without vulgarity”. So Eliot is saying that you...