Williams Chapter 10: Writing Justly

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In my faith, religion and society class today, we were discussing 'charity' and 'justice.' The students along with the professor decided that charity is doing good for an individual while justice is doing what is right for society as a whole.

Upon reading Williams Chapter 10, I was reminded of this discussion. We as writers, affect peoples' lives with our works; even the work we produce simply for class! The professor has to eventually read through all of our papers and more often than not, so do our peers as part of the draft process.

According to Williams, we as writers have a duty to ensure that our writing does not become "carelessly complex" (124). While it may seem like charity-work towards our professors and classmates, keeping our work as simple as possible (without dumbing it down) is actually doing society a justice. (*cue the national anthem in the background...)

Think of what a better place the world would be (or at least high school would have been) if Nathaniel Hawthorne had been kind enough to pare down his monumental paragraphs in The Scarlet Letter. We are the future folks! One day, our work could make its way into the literary canon! We need to face that responsibility head on and make sure that everything we write is written consicely, eloquently and most of all, with Style.

Read what my classmates have to say about Chapter 10.





Yes, literary tastes have changed considerably since Hawthorne's day. We have so many more choices available to us, whether that means other novels to read or other ways to entertain ourselves or enrich our minds besides reading literature.

I do think it's fair to note that Hawthorne was not writing in order to inform -- he was creating a literary world, and the density of the sentences and paragraphs helps to establish the moral weightiness of the issues his characters face. (If you look at Pearl's dialogue, you can see that Hawthorne can do a lot with a little, when he really wants to. But Dimmesdale and Chillingworth are both intellectuals, who put thought before action; when we are in the heads of these characters, we see the world the way they do, with a lot of words.)

But the expectations and experience of today's reading public is very different. Williams does a great job of SHOWING how some minor changes (and some major changes) will impact the reader in profound ways.

A great connection to something you're learning in your LA core, Cody. Thanks for sharing it.

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