November 30, 2004

An Interesting Dictionary ;)

I didn't really know what to expect when I first heard about Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. I do remember, however, that I thought it would be a short story or something of that nature like all the other works I read by him for my Lit class or elsewhere. What was really interesting was that it was nothing like a short story but it was actually just like it sounded: a dictionary...

Bierce goes through the entire A-Z alphabet and has different definitions for each letter. Furthermore, each letter contains quite a few "mock" and "sarcastic" definitions for real life words.

For example:
Friendless: Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

That alone I found to be interesting and at some points, truthful. After all, don't all the fairweather friends of sorts that we've had in our lives hate to hear the truth about something?

One particularly interesting definition was the negative slant taken on the word love.

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

It appears that Bierce has had some rather negative and harsh experiences and situation in his life that leads him to write such a work of art. Throughout my Lit class discussion, it was evident that others felt that Bierce had to have experienced some sorts of negativity to resort to these types of sarcastic, biased, and slanted definitions.

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at November 30, 2004 11:59 PM