Reasons For Writing

                                          Reasons For Writing
     Jean Paul Sartre wrote in Why Write?, Why Write?  Each one  has  his
reasons.  For one, art is flight; for another, a means of  conquering.   But
one can flee into a hermitage, into madness, into death.  Why does  it  have
to be writing, why does one have to manage  his  escapes  and  conquests  by
writing?  Because, behind the various aims of authors,  there  is  a  deeper
and more immediate choice which is common to all of us.  Writing  is  a  way
of wanting freedom.   The author answers his  own  question,  in  that  the
purpose of writing could be to gain freedom.  An  author  can  use   writing
as a tool to express his ideas, as  well  as  to  send  a   message  to  the
reader.  The message could be in the form of sending information,  asking  a
question that encourages the reader to pursue the topic by expanding  on  it
or by taking further actions.  How can writing be used effectively  to  send
a message?
     During the past semester, the three readings that had the  affected  me
the most were:  I Have A Dream, by Martin Luther King,  Jr.,  The  Ballot
or the Bullet,  by  Malcolm  X,  and  Among  the  Condemned,  by  Charles
Dickens.  There are two main reasons for the affect they  had  on  me.   The
first reason is the specific language that each author  used  in  his  work.
The second reason is how the authors presented the sense of struggle in  the
content of their message.
     When I began reading I Have A Dream, the  opening  paragraph  sparked
my interest for two reasons.  I was very impressed  with  the  language  and
the rhetoric he used in his speech.  Martin Luther King Jr.  said,  Now  is
the time to make real the promises of democracy.  Now is the  time  to  rise
from the dark and desolate valley of  segregation  to  the  sunlit  path  of
racial justice.  Now is the time to lift our nation from the  quicksands  of
racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.  Now is the time to  make
justice a reality for all  of  Gods  children.   His  description  of  the
present status of Afro-Americans is  characterized  in  the  words:  dark,
desolate, and quicksands of racial justice.   On  the  other  hand,  the
future, as he sees it, is summarized in the words: sunlit  path  of  racial
justice and solid rock of brotherhood.  This gives me a clear message  as
to his viewpoint on racial inequality.  Even a  hundred  years  before  this
speech took place, Abraham Lincoln sent the same message.  Abraham  Lincoln,
in  his  Annual  Message  to  Congress,  December  1,  1862,  said,  Fellow
citizens,  we  cannot  escape   history   No   personal   significance   or
insignificance can spare one or another of  us.   The  fiery  trial  through
which we pass will light  us  down  in  honour  or  dishonour  to  the  last
     The second reason, my  interest  was  sparked,  was  by  the  level  of
motivation that I felt in his words.  The words that affected  me  the  most
were stated by Martin Luther King Jr. as, Go back to  Mississippi,  and  go
back to Alabama.  Go back to South Carolina.  Go back to Georgia.   Go  back
to Louisiana.  Go back to the slums and  ghettos  of  our  Northern  cities,
knowing that somehow this situation can and will be  changed.   Let  us  not
wallow in the valley of despair.  The motivational part  of  Martin  Luther
King, Jr.s quote that influenced  me  was  the  idea  of  transporting  his
message around the country through his speech.
     In The Ballot or the Bullet,  by Malcolm  X,  the  same  purpose  was
directed by each author, except in a  totally  different  way.   Malcolm  X,
just like Martin Luther King,  Jr.,  wanted  to  identify  and  specify  the
racial  problem  that  Afro-Americans  face  in   American   society.    His
rhetorical style was not as rich and did not have as much sophistication  in
his choice of words as that of  Martin Luther King Jr..    Malcolm  X  said,
Its the year when all of the white politicians will be  back  in  the  so-
called Negro community  jiving  you  and  me  for  some  votes.   The  word
jiving, which he used, showed that he addressed his speech to  a  specific
kind of audience.  Throughout  his  speech,  I  felt  as  though  anger  was
prevalent.  He said, So, Im not  standing  here  speaking  to  you  as  an
American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver-no, not  I.   Im
speaking as a victim of this American system.  And  I  see  America  through
the eyes of the victim.  I dont see any American dream; I see  an  American
nightmare  From this quote, he used words like victim  and  nightmare,
which showed the anger that he hoped would be shared by his  listeners.   In
both oral presentations, I Have A Dream and The Ballot  or  the  Bullet,
the  primary  message  of  seeking  immediate  change   was   characterized.
However, the method, of reaching racial equality that each  author  offered,
was very different.  Martin Luther King, Jr.s method was  through  peaceful
means and Malcolm Xs method was to  change  society  through  violence,  if
     The essay, Among the  Condemned,  by  Charles  Dickens,  captured  my
attention for two reasons.  The primary  reason  was  the  prison  situation
that was described in the passage.   The  second  reason  was  the  dramatic
narrative style that the author used.  By showing  the  situation  in  which
the prisoner had less and less time to live, and by knowing the  exact  time
of his execution, the author kept my interest throughout the  story.   While
I was reading the essay, I put myself in the situation of the prisoner.   By
doing this, I realized the feelings and emotions  that  a  prisoner  has  to
deal with in the waning  hours  of  his  life.   This  is  illustrated  when
Charles Dickens said, It cannot be  two  yet.   Hark!   Two  quarters  have
struck; the third-the fourth. It is!  Six  hours  left.   The  use  of  the
narrative style in Among the Condemned, also helped me to  get  a  clearer
picture of the environment which surrounded  the  prisoner.   Dickens  said,
An iron candlestick was fixed into the wall at the side; and a  small  high
window in the back admitted as much air  and  light  as  could  struggle  in
between a double row  of  heavy,  crossed  iron  bars.   All  the  detailed
descriptions that were used by the author had  an  emotional  and  spiritual
effect on me.
     Struggle is the common content in all three pieces of  literature.   In
the first two works, we can see the struggle  of  Afro-Americans  for  their
equality in society.  The essay, Among  the  Condemned,  also  showed  the
struggle that a prisoner  goes  through.   Another  common  idea,  that  was
exhibited in these three works, was the desire for freedom.   In  the  first
two speeches, both speakers talked about social freedom and  in  the  essay,
the prisoner was seeking freedom from the prison cell.
     The differences between the three works were in their  purpose  and  in
their writing style.  The  purpose  of  the  two  freedom  speeches  was  to
motivate and encourage the listeners to  respond  to  the  speech.   On  the
other hand, the essay created a situation which encouraged the  reader  feel
sympathetic towards the prisoner.  Due to the motivational  purpose  of  the
speeches, the speakers used rhetoric to  emphasize  their  messages.   Since
the essays purpose and the situation  were  different  from  the  speeches,
Dickens chose to use the narrative style for his writing.
     The question Why write? can have many answers.  Some of  the  reasons
for writing are: to motivate, to inform, to educate,  to  influence,  or  to
express  ones  ideas.   In  these  three  readings,  I  found   motivation,
information, education, and the expression of ideas to be the  reasons  that
these authors used.  According to the Bible, Revelation, Chap. 21, verse  4,
 the answer to the question, Why write?, is, And God shall wipe away  all
tears from their eyes; and there shall be no  more  death,  neither  sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things  are
passed away.  And he that sat upon the  throne  said,  Behold,  I  make  all
things new.  And he said unto me,  Write:  for  these  words  are  true  and
faithful.  No matter what the reasons are for writing, it  will  remain  an
effective means of  expression  and  communication.   Can  you  imagine  how
different the world would be  if  no  one  had  ever  found  a  purpose  for

"Reasons For Writing "