Barbaric Vs. Classic
In the world of fiction, there are vast amounts of authors, some good, some not so much, attempting to pluck their readers out of reality and into the lives they created.
Examples of such transporters are Stephanie Meyer, the author of The Twilight Saga, and C.S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia . The Chronicles of Narnia contains characters being physically transported to another world, while The Twilight Saga takes place on Earth but in a world hidden from the normal human. C.
S. Lewis transports his readers into Narnia through metaphors, illusions and parallelism; Meyer stays in this world by using the same barbarous redundancies, diction, and imagery we use every day. Both of these stories have become classics but Narnia has more reason to be one than Twilight. First, Meyer has a bad sense of diction, and imagery, but a good sense of redundancies, and wisdom. “[Bella’s] teeth mashed together with an audible grinding sound” is the first sample from Meyer’s work.
This is particularly interesting because of the imagery it provides the reader. The image of Bella’s teeth being reduced to a gummy paste sounds quite entertaining, unlike the current heart break that is taking place. A better choice of diction would improve this passage. For example “gnashed”, which means “to strict or grind (as the teeth) together”, would have been a fabulous alternative to “mashed”. In George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” he states the six rules of writing and Meyer does attempt to follow these rules.
She uses short words instead of longer words, and she did not use a jargon equivalent of mashed. But if following Orwell’s rules means that an author is hindering their work, then they are not worth following. Another sample from Meyer’s work is, “Aro started to laugh. “Ha, ha, ha,” he chuckled.” This character’s action of laughing must be absolutely necessary for the plot if his laughing needed to be mentioned three times.
Of course, “Aro started to laugh” would not be enough to give the reader the idea that this character found whatever previously happened humorous. Overall, Meyer displays her knowledge of the English language, and her lack of respect for her readers, in these two samples, through her barbarous language and bad choice of diction. In contrast, Lewis understands how to use imagery, parallelism, and Orwell’s rules to help his work. The passage from The Chronicles of Narnia comes from the last book, “The Last Battle” just as the children discover one of the pleasures of the new Narnia: “What was the fruit like? Unfortunately no one can describe the taste. All I can say is that, compared to those fruits, the freshest grapefruit you’ve ever eaten was dull, the juiciest orange was dry, and the most melting pear was hard and woody, and the sweetest strawberry was sour.
“(157) Unlike Meyer’s first sample that had incorrect imagery, which hindered her cause instead of helping it, Lewis’ imagery makes the reader’s mouth water with anticipation by comparing this new fruit to something the reader is already familiar with. The fact that Lewis stated, “no one can describe it”, shows the reader that, even though their mouth is watering, it is still more delicious than they can imagine. Lewis also does not play with the reader but plainly states that his description is not accurate but he will try just the same. C.S.
Lewis also uses a vast amount of rhetorical devices in this passage that makes drool drip off children’s chins. Like the alliteration in “most melting pear”, and “sweetest strawberry was sour” gives this passage a more pleasant tone which then makes the fruit sound more appealing. Also, C.S. Lewis continuously uses parallelism in this paragraph like, “the juiciest orange was dry”, and any other time he mentions fruit. The parallelism raises the readers standards of delicious only for them to come crashing down by stating that even the best piece of fruit they have ever had would never be enough compared to the fruit in the new Narnia.
Lewis, unlike Meyer, understands when one should use Orwell’s rules he could have used shorter words like simply saying “no one can describe the taste of that fruit” than continue on with the story but in choosing to describe the fruit he establishes his world even more. C.S Lewis often makes the reader long to jump through his pages and switch places with the characters but this is even more common in The Last Battle when he uses imagery, parallelism and his understanding of Orwell’s rules to make his conclusion to the series. Overall, classics like Lewis’ cannot be knocked down by barbaric works like Meyer’s. Her contrary fangs do not compare to Lewis’ pears, her chuckles are nothing to his oranges, ha ha ha.
The works being produced and deemed classics today are undermining the works that truly deserve that title. If we keep going down this path, soon picture books will be considered literature; people should not settle with transporters that cannot do their jobs. Yes, both authors are entertaining, but one for his genius and the other for the pure horror that her words could ever be published. George Orwell’s essay “Politics and The English Language” contains the keys to fabulous writing and, though most of the essay trashes language that attempts to sound smart, his last rule is the most important, and is the one rule that Twilight breaks: “break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.” Let us not allow caveman writing to become our standard; let us strive to be transported into worlds that can allow us to escape, not present us with the messes that humans see every day; works that prove reality is more dull than fiction.