A Writer’s Toolbox Is Never Complete Without (syn)Tacks!

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Both Angelica’s and Stephanie’s blog entries on Hamilton’s Essential Literary Terms made me reflect upon the importance of syntax.  

Stephanie’s blog made me do so through her example and analysis of the poem “Deathfugue” by Paul Celan.  I had never read “Deathfugue” before; it certainly is a powerful poem, laced with meaning, feeling, and death.  “Deathfugue” was an excellent example of syntax and Stephanie’s explanation drives home the importance of it.  Her analysis of the strength behind Celan’s choice not to use any punctuation proves how planning pays off.  Syntax is yet another tool found in an author’s toolbox used to create emotion and deeper meaning not just from the words themselves but from their positioning and their use of punctuation. 

Angelica’s blog entry on syntax made me remember a personal experience with syntax and also consider the merit behind purposely choosing not to vary sentence structure.  I agreed with her that using a mixture of sentences is very important; however, there are also some exceptions—it just depends on what you are going for.  As Hamilton showed, Hemmingway used many very simple, similar sentences in order to create a certain feeling.  So you don’t necessarily want to vary sentence structure if you want to create a feeling of monotony or boredom, but generally it is good to change things up.  I remember my senior year my teacher had us write an essay in which we had to include so many different types of sentences (the only one I remember now is parallelism, next time I go home I need to dig out the handout she gave us and look at it).  I found the assignment very frustrating at first, but once I went back through my paper and read it, and saw all the improvement from my first draft that the varied sentences had caused, I recognized the importance of not just writing the same type of sentence over and over and over again. 

Between Stephanie and Angelica’s two blog entries and my reflection on syntax, I am sure that the importance of it will not be forgotten, at least not by me.


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