November 29, 2004

The Devil's Dictionary

I really enjoyed reading "The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce. It came at a good time in the semester, right between two novels. I liked its setup: how it was arranged into definitions rather than paragraphs; it made it easier to read because I could read small sections over a longer course of time rather than all at once.
I appreciate his different approach to writing: instead of writing a long, boring paper on what he thinks is wrong with society and his suggestions on how to improve it, he simply defines words. Most of the words he defines have to do with stereotypes, misconceptions, and problems with society as a whole. He makes his opinions known in a very economic composition. He uses just enough details to get his point across, yet it is successful.
I just want to mention my reaction to the presentations given on "The Devil's Dictionary." Many of the women presenters claimed that this writing is sexist. I just feel like sometimes women bring a lot on themselves. Women today seem to blame everything on men, but most of the time the women are to blame. I think we need to get over all of our "hang-ups" and accept who we are, in order for men to accept who we are. Just because the author defined a few words relating to females does not mean that he is sexist. It may be his opinion of society at the time, he may be trying to get people to notice their biases, or maybe he is sexist. SO WHAT? Be the stronger person. So what if he is sexist? So what if anyone is sexist? Prove them wrong. Work your ass off. Show them that women are strong, intelligent, and just as "good" as men are. And for the most part, I would say the men in our class, and the men at SHU as a whole, are some of the LEAST sexist men we will ever meet. I just wish people would look at other things then gender roles, I get sick of hearing it over and over again.

Posted by Sarah Elwood at November 29, 2004 08:43 PM

Excellent post Sarah! I agree with you that sometimes we as women take things to heart too fast and jump to conclusions. I am guilty of this myself. I also have to agree with you on the fact that the Dictionary is not really sexist. There are words in the dictionary that portain to men as well. Bierce was not attacking women, but attacking society and the problems that were going on during this time.


Posted by: Tiffany at November 30, 2004 02:21 PM

I agree I really liked the Devil's Dictionary and the way Bierce gives such a creative description to common words. And I do believe the dictionary is sexist, because it is! Some of our female classmates shouldn't get so upset because Bierce gave sexist definitions to both the female and male words. And like you said sometimes females bring it on themselves, so do men. Bierce's definitions are sexist but they are the truth. For example, the version I have of the Dictionary describes 'Husband' and the person who pays for the plate at dinner. That's sexist, saying men should always pay, but the man usually does. Bierce is just being truthful, I think. It's like sterotypes, no one likes them, but they wouldn't be sterotypes if they weren't true. Steroptypes are taken from most truths.

Posted by: JessicaZelenak at November 30, 2004 04:52 PM

I agree!!! Women in general need to work more as a whole and work our butts off to prove that we are strong and independant!! I love your post... it was so uplifting!!!

Posted by: Jess at November 30, 2004 10:24 PM

Way to go representing us women! I agree that although stereotypes sometimes bring us down, they should give us all the more reason to prove them wrong!

Posted by: April at November 30, 2004 10:45 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?