Harkins – Week 8

My Stance on Stanley’s Messages

Having been newly exposed to the finely-filtered fountain of Stanley Fish’s knowledge in his book How to Write a Sentence during the past two months, I have definitely profited.  Much appreciated is Fish’s concise style of condensing concepts simply and purely, without all the unnecessary bacteria of words floating about.  One difficulty I am unfortunately faced with while reading Fish, is staying equally engaged during each paragraph (which all seem loaded with important information).  Since “I don’t wanna to miss a thing,” my curious and enthusiastic mind and emotions temporarily burn out every couple paragraphs, then recharge, then tire again.

1. Distinctions of the Subordinating and Additive Styles

The subordinating style, blessed memory (at least, until I read and “enliven” it again), is basically my cup of tea.  Full of structure and organization, this style attracts my mind (logic-based ol’ thing) to bask in its order and cause-and-effect or if-this-then-that dependent relationships.

Enter additive style.

“What, honey-child?!” Ms. Addy (the additive style) jumped in, “I deal quite so in regards to relationships!  Don’t you be tryin’ to contrast us in ‘at respect.  Remember, Association is ma middle name.”

“Now, Ms. Addy,” responded Sir Subordinate, “Based on your style, it seems association is one of the only, if not the only rule you live by.  The only reason your style has survived, since that spontaneous Montaigne character introduced it some several hundred years ago, is because you have association.  Let’s be honest, without association, your style would be like listening to a barrage of little kids each trading off saying one sentence to you and you recording it–nothing but a bunch of random, haphazard, one-track sentences!”

“Ohh, you better stop right there you fat subordi-butt!  I’ma get my friends, Sterne, Salinger, Stein, and Hemingway over he–“

“Hold on just one second, can’t we reason this in an orderly fashion?”

“Oh no, sir, I love to improvise and just add any idea I get to this train-of-thought of mine.”

That’s the whole problem, thought Sir Subordinate, she just adds!

What a dumb, tutti, salamander-eating, balogna-faced, cheese-whiz- covered schoolboy, Ms. Addy added, he thinks too much!  He should just go with the flow and stop constructing every last component.

2. My Reaction to Gertrude Stein’s LONG Sentence

Bewilderment.  I had never seen a sentence quite like this–8.5 lines long and only ONE comma?!  I did get tripped up at one part near the end, “to do with it to do with” because of the back-to-back repetition, but other than that, I remarkably (although probably simply, in her mind) understood exactly what she was trying to communicate.

3. My Original “Ford Maddox Ford” Type Sentence

Scattering bananas across the ground, hiding in the shadows, and spitting pebbles, perhaps lovingly, perhaps not, the monkeys bounced up and down, unaware of their lack of etiquettes, disgusting the exhausted zookeeper, yelping ferociously as the city’s bell-tower-clock struck 11pm, a scurrying rat sped across the monkeys’ cell, alarmed.

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