The Nature of LanguageWe have recently started reading The Voyage Out in one of my graduate seminars, and I am really interested in how Woolf uses language throughout this novel.  A couple of...

The Nature of Language

We have recently started reading The Voyage Out in one of my graduate seminars, and I am really interested in how Woolf uses language throughout this novel.  A couple of points I have found include the following:

1. Spoken language is far more volatile and misinterpreted than the written word.

2. Music is far more honest and passionate than the both spoken and written word.

What do you all think? We had a pretty great class discussion, so I would love to keep the ball rolling. 

2 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would want to question point 1. on your list. In what sense is spoken language more "volatile and misinterpreted than the written word"? Surely both spoken language and the written word can be equally volatile and misinterpreted - I don't necessarily see that this is a valid difference you are establishing. Can you explain your point more?

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I guess I'd ask a question:  how do you rate the "honesty" of music?  And I can't imagine how it could be more passionate that some of the great works of literature.  I can understand how the spoken word could be more volatile and subject to misinterpretation, but that is because it is more spontaneous and less "practiced." 

It might be helpful if you gave us a hint about how the discussion started and why it took the directions that it did.  

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