Making an Interview a Success - The Role of Language

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"Literature is a 'special' kind of language, in contrast to the 'ordinary' language we commonly use" (Eagleton 4).

Eagleton makes an interesting case about what literature is and how it is classified. When walking down the street or around campus you may just consider people having normal conversations or dialogue. On the other hand, when you are sitting in a college level English class the language that you use seems much different. Literature seems to hold a higher stature than the so-called "ordinary" language.

This idea is carried through by this quote from Eagleton:

"If everyone used phrases like 'unravished bride of quietness' in ordinary pub conversation, this kind of language might cease to be poetic" (Eagleton 5).

By this point you are probably wondering why I choose this title. A perfect example would be preparing and going to an interview. When you are at an interview you usually are dressed formally and use an elegant dialogue filled with proper vocabulary. You may not cite poetry at the interview, but I am sure that you try to set a positive tone with your, most likely, future employer. So, if everyone used this proper language in "pub conversation" then this too would not be proper whether you were at an interview or at a restaurant.

Literature is developed from generation to generation and interpreted differently over each generation. Eagleton expresses many views about what the future holds for literature. Our children and grandchildren may regard T.S. Elliot as being a poet and/or great literary composer. Although we do not know what the future holds for the literature we study, we do know that the way you express language is a determining factor in making literature and succeeding throughout life.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Eagleton

4 Comments

Great example. That's a nice way to apply Eagleton's arguments to everyday life, Derek. I found Eagleton's inclusion of linguistic difference in his argument of what is literature intriguing as well. While he eventually adds to the formalist definition of what is language, I found myself agreeing with parts of the formalist definition of literature. For example, I agree that some literature can be viewed as language "made strange" as Eagleton terms it. Your example of swapping interview talk with bar talk applies here: Isn't it funny to think about the different types of language we use in different settings? I think it would be an amusing experiment to walk into different settings and use completely inappropriate language for that atmosphere. The expressions on people's faces would be priceless.

Wow, I never thought about how interesting it would be to actually use language that is not the norm for certain places. That would be a great experiment and people would think we were really smart or strange.

While I was reading a book entitled, "Reading the New Teatament" I came across an interesting quote. It stated, "Sometimes people go around quoting the Bible in English as though those were words directly spoken by God" (Perkins 10). I thought that this was a great reference to what Eagleton was talking about. When your at a store or mall and someone begins talking about their religious beliefs then usually we make a smerk or think that that person is indifferent. The same effect can be seen from saying literature or religious statements in an inappropriate setting. I thought that this was an interesting connection.

Umm...I think strange would probably be the general reaction. But that would be the fun of it.

That's a really good point you make about people quoting the bible like it was originally written in English, by the way. So many people let the fact that the Bible is a translation, and a tentative, much debated one at that, slip through their minds when using it to back up a claim.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on January 25, 2009 4:09 PM.

The Perception of Emotion and Poetry was the previous entry in this blog.

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