Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What We See Isn't What We Say

Compare this:

"Where the Red Fern Grows" by Marilyn Hoff Hansen
Idaho Fall, ID Library

And this:

"The blue tick hound was like the Pritchards, mean and ugly" by Israel Sanchez

To this:

caroleodell: Watching "Where the Red Fern Grows" and trying not to cry. <Impossible>
Bananaelf: Where the red fern grows is such a good book. I admit it I cried :)
D_Penderhughes: Haven't read a good one since six grade (Where the Red Fern Grows) great book....sad rite lol
I daresay that the visual representations are much more demonstrative of the emotional intensity and depth of Where the Red Fern Grows. To almost everyone with whom I discuss the book (which is a lot of people these days), I mentioned, "It is incredible. I tear up all the time." But really, who cares? It's a sad story, but it is so much more than that.  Sometimes what we see and what we feel when we engage with the book is impossible to put into words. Sometimes images just do it better. I don't know my exact direction, but I want to look more into this. Why is other art so much more capable of describing literature than literature itself.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is a great insight. I have felt the same way when reading a book; that how I feel cannot be expressed in words. In middle school, part of our book reports required designing a new book cover. At times, this part of my book report was where I felt I had found the best connection between my ideas and my produced work, where my thoughts really came to life. That is one reason that for my book, I am trying to utilize creative processes to rediscover the elements of Jane Eyre.

  3. As a future English teacher, I really appreciate your comment, Ashley. Clearly, incorporating this idea into classroom instruction is important if we want to teach students how to thoroughly explore literature. Thanks for that thought!

  4. I think that visual representation is something we take in instantly. Even when we sometimes can't put the reasons into words, what we see hits us with full emotional force. We are visual creatures after all. Words do have power, sometimes they give more than a visual image could, but that power is absorbed slowly as we take in the message. Because its effect is gradual it isn't as potent. Maybe this is another reason why postmodernists and others complain that words are flawed. The level of abstraction in a written piece is much higher than a sculpture or a painting (usually).