What a fantastically horrible roller coaster ride this all has been. I haven’t left my house in over three weeks, and being the only child born to parents that are much older than average, I have found that my only source of connection to people my own age is through a screen. I hate screens. I feel like they draw you in, hypnotize you, trap you in that radiant white light, and then spit you out once they’ve eaten up a good chunk of your time, and you’re left with nothing to show for it but a headache and a blank stare. And now… I’m sitting behind those monstrosities for upwards of eight hours a day. Oh, the irony! I’ve seriously considered throwing my phone away, but that would be suicide at a time like this where screens are the only thing providing me any connection to the outside world, so naturally I keep it by my side at all times.
I know I sound dramatic, but perception is reality. I don’t pretend to have it worse off than anybody else. At the very least I have a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, and the ability to receive a multi-thousand-dollar education from the comfort of my home in middle class suburbia, which I might add it a heck of a lot more than most people. I am blessed beyond belief, and what a time to recognize that as we celebrate holy week in solitude. Saying these are trying times is an understatement, but as long as I’m utilizing clichés, I’ll point out that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Now, just to sum up what’s been going on in ENGL 105 this week. To be completely transparent, nothing out of the ordinary; we all log into our Zoom session, Paul greets us with enthusiasm and tries to get us to talk about how we’re doing (nobody takes the bait), we workshop the feeder for the week, which was the literary analysis of a short story of our choosing, and we are introduced to our next assignment along with all the resources we could possibly need to create something worthy of high marks. By all definitions, are classes are cookie cutter, which is by no means a bad thing. If anything, I appreciate how stagnant our English class has been. It provides a normality at a time where everything is anything but normal, and for that I am grateful. But the regularity of class is minor in comparison to what english class has truly given me this week: an understanding of the importance of words.
It is such a sweet coincidence that we happen to be analyzing the word choice of authors at a time where the Trump administration, the media, and businesses are carefully picking their words. Now more than ever I can hear and see the precise calculations behind the eyes of David Muir as he tries to convey the news in a manner that doesn’t send the public into turmoil, as he was undoubtedly advised to do moments before going on air. And goodness the commercials! Nearly everyone is trying to play on how emotional we are over this microscopic disease so that we spend big money to save businesses. Maybe this is something that has always happened, and it just took a pandemic for me to notice, or maybe it was analyzing “An Angel in Disguise” by T.S. Arthur that really solidified how volatile words can be.
Regardless, I feel as if everything has been made clear, like those old Claritin commercials, and I can now see the words that are being dumped into the American public at more than face value. Virtually every syllable has a hidden meaning behind it, whether they are purposeful or unconscious? Who’s to say? It’s really up to the interpretation of the audience, which within itself is a whole different ballgame of uncertainty. But one thing is for certain: words are dangerous, and it only takes one misused one to precipitate an astonishing amount of trouble.