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Expressed silence: a study of the metaphorics of word in selected nineteenth-century American texts Werder, Carmen Marie 1994

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EXPRESSED SILENCE: A STUDY OF THE METAPHORICS OF WORD IN SELECTED NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN TEXTS  by  CARMEN MARIE WERDER  B.A., Western Washington University, M.A., Western Washington University,  1968 1986  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BITISH COLUMBIA April 1994 cCarmen Marie Werder,  1994  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of  Engi ish  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2188)  20 April 1994  11  ABSTRACT Expressed Silence:  A Study of the Metaphorics of Word  in Selected Nineteenth-Century American Texts  This  dissertation  explores the  patterned use  “metaphors of word”——images of reading, writing, speaking——in four American texts:  of  certain  listening, and  Emerson’s Nature,  Thoreau’s  Walden, Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s Moby Dick. Assumed  in my discussion is the modern view of metaphor as a  cognitive device used, not for mere stylistic ornament, but for creating  certain  mental  view and  on  a  perspectival  perspective.  the  Based  experiential—gestalt  on  account  the of  metaphor, the structures of these metaphors of word are examined in order to discern the systematic nature of their argument and to determine the cultural and historical reasons why language imagery,  and  represent influences Calvinism,  not  some  other  this  argument.  of  democracy,  type  of  After  imagery, surveying  mercantilism,  was  chosen  the  to  cultural  Romanticism,  and  I characterize the metaphoric systems of each text  and then move on to a closer study of the role of silence within these systems. From century voice  this  texts  as  a  analysis, reflect  predominant  a  I  conclude  shift symbol,  ways  of  knowing,  so  these  nineteenth—  away  from  the  and  away  from writing  speaking as a privileged metaphor. represent  that  that  Language  book  toward  imagery works to  linguistic  concerns become inextricably intertwined.  toward the  and  epistemic  The process of using  iii operates  language  knowledge.  as  a  metaphor  for  the  In this metaphorics of word,  process  of  gaining  silence emerges as a  particularly striking metaphor in the way that it expresses the coalescence of being and knowing, what we know.  the realization that we know  In this scheme, metaphors of word structure ways  of understanding, and the expressed silence metaphor highlights the  way  interior  knowledge. by  this  speech  can  function  nineteenth—century metaphorics  as  metaphorics  the  discernment  of  Ultimately, I contend that the perspective provided  modern view of rhetoric as epistemic. action  in  a of  figure word  for  of  an  forecasts the  By employing linguistic  representing  promotes  word  epistemic  understanding  primary purpose as the interrogation of truth.  of  action,  a  rhetoric’s  iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iv  Acknowledgments  vi  Chapter One  Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four  An Introduction to a Metaphorics of Word The ‘Cognitive Force’ of Metaphor A Metaphorics of Word A Rhetorical Basis Metaphor and Symbol Linguistic and Epistemic Action Method of Analysis  1 2 5 6 12 17  From a Culture of the Book to a Culture of the Voice Cultural Spheres of Influence The Influence of Democracy The Influence of Mercantilism The Influence of Romanticism The Influence of Calvinism Calvinism, Christianity, and the Voice The Voice as Literary Symbol  29 32 36 39 45 50 56  The Voice of the Translator in Nature and Walden Common Concerns On ‘American Hieroglyphics’ Nature and the ‘God Within’ Walden and the ‘Private Au’ Translation and the Dilemma of Expressed Language  60 67 69 83 93  ‘The Tongue of Flame’ in the Scarlet Letter A Human Rubric 98 Metaphors of Word in Action 102 The Voice for the Person 104 The Human Text and the Voice of ‘Suffering Humanity’ 113 The ‘Tongue of Flame’ and the Inadequacy of Language 125  V  Chapter Five  Chapter Six  Bibliography  Voices in Negation in Moby Dick An Epistemic Log The Tower of Babel and the Pyramid ‘Explain Myself I Must’ ‘Half-articulated Wailings’ and Truthful Gibberish Character as Linguistic—Epistemic Philosophy Profound and Intertextual Silence ‘Pyramidical Silence’ and the Inadequacy of Language  160  The Literacy of Silence Expressed Silence The ‘Semantics of Silence’ Expressed Silence and a Private Logos A Metaphorics of Word as Prophetic  165 169 201 203  130 136 137 143 146 156  207  vi Acknowledgments First of all, I am grateful to the University of British Columbia for the fellowship that aided in the completion of this dissertation. I appreciate all the people who have assisted in the development of this study, especially the following colleagues and mentors. I thank Father Steven Rowan from Seattle University for our conversations about how a culture of the book became a culture of the voice. Several people from Western Washington University deserve my gratitude as well: Roberta Buck, for generous and expeditious delivery of my drafts; Kathleen Lundeen for enlightening references to silence in British Romantic texts; Lynne Masland, for the clarifying discussions about my texts; and Barbara Sylvester, for her generous intellectual and emotional support over many years. The faculty on my supervising committee have been important influences on my work throughout its stages. I thank Judy Segal for her stimulating and pointed questions about the rhetorical nature of my study. I appreciate Grosvenor Powell for his expert and pertinent comments about literary history and American literature. And I owe a special debt to Maya Jo Powell for her inspiring seminar on linguistic theories of metaphor which launched this dissertation and for her judicious guidance every step of the way. Her scholarly and humane direction of my work has been a blessing, and I am deeply grateful. I am also thankful to my friends and family, especially to those who have seen me through the last two years: my dear friend, Peggy Bridgman, for her unconditional support; my parents, Frank and Corinne Werder and Marie Woodward, for their constant encouragement; my sons Joseph and Fritz, and daughter Melissa, for their continuing interest in my ideas. Most of all, I acknowledge my husband, Richard, whose insight, creativity, and affection have sustained not only this dissertation, but all my work.  1  CHAPTER 3. AN INTRODUCTION TO A METAPHORICS OF WORD The ‘Cognitive Force’ of Metaphor “Man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a metaphor?” This query-answer by Marshall McLuhan playfully suggests that a metaphor provides for some kind of mental stretching and serves to  extend  scholars  our in  usual  human  earlier  capacity  centuries  in  some  stressed  way.  the  Although  stylistic  and  decorative aspects of metaphor, many twentieth—century theories emphasize 1 import. saying,  that  metaphoric  extension  has  serious  cognitive  Many of these latter theorists would answer McLuhan by “Metaphor is for the discovery of truth.”  mere ornament, Kittay (1987)  Instead of  metaphor is now primarily studied for what Eva has called its “cognitive force.” 2  This modern view of metaphor as a cognitive mechanism rests on the work of such diverse thinkers as Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1817)  who portrayed metaphor as the linguistic means by which  thoughts  are unified  (qtd.  in Kittay  6),  Friedrich Nietzsche  (1911) who argued for metaphor as a thought process by which we make sense of reality 3 ,  think  by  means  of  l.A. Richards  4 metaphors,  and  (1936)  Kenneth  who said that we Burke  (1941)  who  described metaphor as one of the four “master tropes” which have a “role in the discovery and description of ‘the truth’.” 5  More  2 recently,  George Lakoff and Mark Johnson  (1980)  have affirmed  this relationship between metaphor and thought by examining the “metaphors we live by,” contending that “metaphor is not just a matter  of  language.  processes  are  .  .  On  .  the  largely metaphorical”  contrary,  thought  human  (emphasis added)  6  This  modern view identifies using metaphor with thinking and insists that metaphor rhetorical  should  be  efficacy,  examined  but  for  “not its  for  its  affective  cognitive  and  contribution”  (Kittay 2). Therefore, this study of literary metaphor seeks to discern the  cognitive  metaphors.  legacy  of  certain  texts  by  examining  The perspectival view of metaphor,  their  as developed by  theorists such as l.A. Richards and Max Black and formalized by Kittay, is helpful in determining the cognitive contributions of these texts.  By describing metaphor  as  a way  of  creating a  certain “perspective,” these theorists have proposed that it is this resulting perspective which has a cognitive influence.  To  explore these perspectives for recurring patterns is to explore patterns of thought.  By examining writers’ metaphorical habits,  then, we can learn about their habits of mind. A Metaphorics of Word Based device,  on  this  this study  crucial focuses  view on  of  metaphor  the  metaphorics  literature in the nineteenth century. mean  the  within  a  study text  of as  certain well  as  a  a of  cognitive American  I use “metaphorics” to  metaphorical across  as  body  patterns of  which  literature  recur and  a  3 certain time period.  With this approach,  I follow the work of  E.R. Curtius who examined the metaphorics of European literature in the  Latin Middle Ages,  identifying five  recurring  clusters:  nautical,  theatrical.  More to the point of my investigation,  personal,  alimentary,  imagery  corporal,  and  he traces  various writing metaphors and presents an overview of how the book served as a symbol in the literatu 7 re. concerned attempt topoi  with  to  cataloguing  show how the  and tropes)  metaphors  devices  of  as  While Curtius was part  classical  served to unify the  of  his  larger  rhetoric  (both  literature in terms of  literary method, I am primarily interested in investigating the metaphorics of nineteenth—century American literature to see how the  patterned  literature  use  of  language  imagery  served  in terms of a common theme.  to  unify  the  Whereas an intuitive  reading of selected texts written in this time period suggests that  these  American  writers  used  similar  images  and  shared  common cognitive pursuits, inetaphorics ensures a more systematic and formal study of this relationship. The images Taken  focus here will be on “metaphors of word,”  involving together,  reading, these  writing,  metaphors  of  listening, word  and  construct  that  is,  speaking. language  itself as the domain from which to view and understand other domains.  I will trace the use of these language metaphors in  four American texts: (1854), Dick  Emerson’s Nature (1836), Thoreau’s Walden  Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter (1850),  (1851).  and Melville’s Moby  These texts were selected not only because they  4 are representative of a particularly important literary period, but also because the writers of these works profess  a common  view of language, make it a constant subject of their writing, and use it as a way of understanding the world. these works,  In discussing  I will represent some of the basic impulses of the  traditionally  defined  canon  of  nineteenth—century  American  literature and intimate how these inclinations were culturally defined.  Specifically,  I want to emphasize that at the same  time as the writers of this century express frustration with the limits of language, their writing reveals an acknowledgement of its value and of its primacy in their lives. writers  of  the  eighteenth  century  tended  While the American to  generate  public  manifestos, defining the spirit and struggles of a young country searching for independence, the writers of the nineteeth century turned increasingly to matters of the individual. show how much they valued language for the way expression  to  one  person’s  nation of searchers. rely on language,  search  for  inner  Their texts it could give  truth  within  a  In short, they demonstrate a tendency to  above everything else,  for their individual  quests. In  his  study  of  style  in  American  literature  (1966),  Richard Poirier states that for many American writers (including the  four  under  liberation: forces  study  here),  language  represented  a  site  of  “American books are often written as if historical  cannot  possibly  provide  such  history can give no life to ‘freedom’,  an  environment,  as  if  and as if only language  5  can create the  liberated place”  (emphasis  added)  •8  It  is  j  this liberating spirit that these American writers use language metaphors——metaphors of word——to create a space for themselves: as individuals within a maturing democratic nation, as craftsmen within  an  evolving  expanding  Romantic  market  tradition,  economy, and  as  as  writers  spiritualists  within  an  within  an  draws  on  increasingly secularized Calvinistic theology. A Rhetorical Basis  While  this  understandings  study from  of  metaphors  literary  of  word  history,  criticism,  and  linguistics, it is fundamentally a rhetorical analysis, in which attention is directed to the effects of the figurative language employed in the texts, with the discussion phrased more in terms of the traditional canon of invention than of style.  In other  words, instead of examining the patterned use of certain figures for the way that they contribute to an overall literary voice, metaphorical patterns will be studied as recurring ideas.  These  means will facilitate a focus upon the systematic meaning(s), rather  than  upon  the  aesthetic  appeal,  of  these  figures.  Relying on Kenneth Burke’s expanded definition of persuasion to include works of  9 I want to discern the literature,  “lines of  argument” provided in the language metaphors of these literary texts.  Sonja  Foss has  rhetorical venture:  described the  basis  for  this  kind of  “metaphor serves an argumentative function  in a very basic way; metaphor constitutes argument.  Metaphor  does not simply provide support to an argument; the structure of  6 the  metaphor  itself  argues.’”°  My  aim  is  to  discover  the  structure of these metaphors of word in order to determine the systematic  structure  culturallyimagery,  and  and  their  of  arguments  historically-specific  not  some  other  type  of  and  to  reasons imagery,  explore why  was  the  language chosen  to  represent these arguments. In classical rhetorical terms, these texts can be viewed as epideictic” in the way that they both censure language for its inability to access some truths, and also celebrate the process of  language as a metaphor for knowing.  terms,  In modern rhetorical  these texts demonstrate how rhetoric is epistemic,  how  the arguments presented in their metaphors of word create a new understanding 2 thought.’  of  the  This  relationship  epistemic  between  perspective,  as  language acknowledged  and by  Robert L. Scott in 1967, presupposes the understanding, as Foss et  al.  have  have put  it,  rhetorical  “that all knowledge-creating  3 aspects.”  Grounded  in  enterprises  this  modern  understanding of rhetoric, this study is also rhetorical simply because of its central concern with figures of speech. Metaphor and Symbol Norman Friedman’s “Theory of Symbolism” here  in the way that  imagery:  it proposes three general  is helpful  approaches to  (1) mental, where the focus is on what happens in the  reader’s mind; figures  (1975)  of  (2)  speech  rhetorical, in  the  where the  language  concern  itself;  and  is with the  (3)  symbolic,  where the attention is drawn to the meaning and significance of  7 these images.’ 4  While these three labels point to contrasting  concerns,  are  they  not  mutually  exclusive  since  figurative  language simply does not operate on such discrete levels.  In  other words, what happens in the reader’s mind is a function of the language itself and of the significance of the imagery used, both within the text and in the larger context of the culture. As both Curtius and Friedman have observed,  an examination of  recurring metaphor inevitably involves an examination of symbol, which inevitably involves a discussion of prevailing cultural values. between  The challenge here is to provide for some distinction metaphor  and  symbol  within  a  larger  discussion  of  trope  in  nineteenth—century ideas and culture. From  the  Greek  word  meaning  “a  turn,”  a  traditional rhetoric refers to a rhetorical device which creates a shift in the meaning of words. kind  of  trope  by  which  A metaphor is considered one  language  is  extension of its literal meaning. the  turn  involves  transference  of  contemporary  view,  an  one  extension word  for  neither  used  “turn”  a  or  Important tp note is that of  meaning  another.  the  with  word  and  not  simply  Furthermore, nor  the  in  sentence  considered an adequate linguistic unit of metaphor,  a  the is  in that an  analysis of metaphorical meaning often requires examining the larger linguistic! extralinguistic context. “a  unit  of  metaphor  is  any  conceptual or conversational  unit  of  As Kittay states,  discourse  in  incongruity emerges”  which (24);  some thus,  metaphorical meaning is a function of the immediate linguistic!  8 extralinguistic context, but can emerge from a unit larger than the word or sentence. In  contrast to metaphor,  symbol  a  has  been taken  to be  something which means itself and something beyond itself.  In  his discussion of the “symbolic mode,” Angus Fletcher reminds us that a symbol may or may not be a matter of explicit expression, but that a metaphor always this tradition,  involves some explicit term. 15  In  Coleridge made a distinction between allegory  and symbol by noting that with the symbol,  “it is very possible  that the general truth may be unconsciously in the writer’s mind during the construction of the symbol,” while  with  the  allegory  correspondence  (and  always  is  by  (qtd.  analogy,  consciously  in Fletcher 17)  the  made  metaphor),  by  the  the  16 writer.  Since the associations behind a symbol may be unconscious, ideas  being  linked  specific context. a  symbol  of  are  not  always  given  or  understood  the in  a  For example, a cross——the icon by itself——is  Christianity,  whether  a  word  expression  or  accompanies it or not because the associations between the cross and Christianity have been established over time.  In contrast  with  function  symbolism,  literal  meaning,  linguistic metaphor  since a  metaphorical  metaphor  expression.  may  metaphorical  be  transfer  always  While  implied,  there  evident  meaning  one is in  is  requires  of  the  always the  a  some  paired some  immediate  explicit  terms  trace  of  of  of  a  the  linguistic  context. A way of describing this distinction between metaphor and  9 is to acknowledge that the metaphor relies more on the  symbol  immediate context for its meaning, while the symbol draws more on associations  already established  within the  and outside the text.  “Thus  it  text  can  be  said  that  a  in a  larger As  context both  Friedman puts  recurring metaphor  is  it,  symbolic,  because repetition establishes larger relationships, and that a symbol  is  an  expanded  metaphor”  (291).  Because  symbolic  meaning accrues, then, Friedman calls it the most complex level of figurative meaning and the most difficult kind of meaning to trace.  Also,  overlap,  a  since  metaphorical  specific  linguistic  and  symbolic  item  can  levels  involve  can both  metaphorical and symbolic meanings. The  crucial point  is that an  image can acquire  symbolic  meaning only by some kind of repeated use:  in the real world of  a  specific text.  culture/within the  example, Scarlet  literary world of a  the white whale in Moby Dick and the red Letter  acquire  powerful  symbolic  meaning  “A”  For  in The  because  of  their use in the literature, both by repeated literal use and by recurring metaphorical use.  In contrast, the voice exists as a  powerful symbol in both of these texts because of its use not only  in  the  also  because  nineteenth  literature, of  its  century.  both  role In  literally and  in  the  Burkean  American  terms,  figuratively, culture  voicing  as  of  but the  “symbolic  action,” is the object of this study because the concern is with both  the  textual  applications  and  also  application to the cultural symbol systems.’ 7  with  a  broader  10 It should be noted here that both the book and the voice are being considered as images in my discussion of metaphors of word.  While the word “image” can be somewhat misleading since  it suggests only visual objects, I am using “image” to refer to anything which can be received by any of the senses. A question which remains  is whether the  literary or the  cultural context is the most fruitful place for an investigation of imagery. always  Since metaphor is always a conscious construct and  involves some explicit expression by the writer,  tempting  to  begin  with  the  metaphorical  use  of  images  literature and then to consider their symbolic import. as  Curtius  book,  suggests,  sometimes  a  pervasive  generates  cultural  metaphors  in  symbol,  it is in  And yet, such  literature.  as  In  a  his  chapter “The Book as Symbol,” Curtius shows how the book, which had  assumed  culture,  a  gave  central rise  to  place  as  countless  an  esteemed  writing  object  in  the  metaphors  in  the  literature. Relying on Goethe’s premise that only subject matter which is “value—charged” can serve as a source of figurative language, Curtius demonstrates that it is only when the book possessed the necessary cultural value as a symbol that it had the necessary “life—relation” to prompt literary metaphors.  He contends that  “The use of writing and the book in figurative language occurs in  all  periods  of  world  literature,  but  with  characteristic  differences which are determined by the course of the culture in general”  (303,  emphasis added).  Because the potential  for a  11 genuine life—relation between people and books was manifestly greater during  some periods than others,  it was during these  peak periods when writers were more motivated to choose writing metaphors.  In illustration,  metaphors  in  experience,”  European “the  literature,  red  ink  binding as a human face” with the times. conspicuous periods  and  when  Curtius traces recurring writing such  martyrs’  of  as  “the  blood,”  book  and  a  of  “book  and emphasizes how their use varies  He asserts that such writing metaphors were significant the  book  in  was  the a  literature  valued  during  symbol  those  and  were  inconsequential when the book was not as highly regarded. Furthermore, Curtius contends that “after the Enlightenment shattered the authority of the book and the Technological Age changed all the relations of life,” the book lost its place as an esteemed symbol and writing imagery lost its significance in the  literature  (347).  My  interest stems partially  from this  contention by Curtius that the book was no longer a pervasive symbol after the eighteenth century and from the questions poses.  What happened to the book as a symbol in America in the  nineteenth century?  If  it did lose  symbol, if any, took its place? the  writing  metaphors  of  its place of honor,  the  language  characteristic  American writers  is  way  what  And, most importantly, what do  century reveal about their habits of mind? that  it  writing  culturally determined,  and  is I  in  the  nineteenth  If Curtius is right used  as  believe  figurative that he  is,  then we might hypothesize something about the writing metaphors  12 used in this body of literature by first examining the values of the nineteenth-century culture and then test this hypothesis by studying the literary metaphors themselves. conclusions  that  Curtius provides with  The questions and  reference  to  European  literature serve as a backdrop for my explorations of American literature.  Like Curtius, I contend that a study of recurring  tropes allows for a unified perspective on a body of literature. Linguistic and Epistemic Action Given  this  background,  I  am  asserting  that  American  literature of the nineteenth century reflects a shift away from the book toward the VOICE as a predominant symbol, and away from writing toward speaking as a pervasive metaphor. this overall claim, metaphor  of  word  As part of  I am arguing that a particularly striking  that  pairs  speech  silence,  and  which  I  am  terming “expressed silence,” merits special attention in the way that it reveals a significant attitude about the relationship between language and knowledge.  Basic to my discussion is the  contention that metaphors selectively highlight  ideas so that  “If an idea is important to a person or culture, its way to imagery.” 18 such  an  century,  important  it will find  Because language, especially speech, was  topic  in  the  writings  of  the  nineteenth  it is inevitable that it would find its way into the  imagery in the literature. Furthermore,  it is the process by which language provides  epistemic access that is being highlighted by these metaphors of word,  namely,  that the process of using  language  is  a useful  13 perspective for viewing the process of knowing.  Assumed in my  discussion is the belief that the metaphorical habits of these writers reflect an attitude about language that existed in their culture:  Using  language  is  a way  of  thinking.  While  these  writers might have been more vocal about this attitude toward language than the common person, century’s relation  cognitive with  they reflect the nineteenth—  inclinations.  words,  and  These writers had  even  though  they  were  a  life-  aware  of  linguistic limitations, they were preoccupied with language and its primacy;  it follows that they would make language the main  subject matter of their writing and use the domain of language itself  as  a  source  of  their  figurative  expressions.  Their  metaphors of word employ language as vehicle and knowledge as tenor,  so that the domain of language provides the perspective  for viewing the domain of knowledge.  Drawing on metaphors of  language to represent cognition, they highlight the relationship between the process of using language and the process of gaining knowledge. which  The  result  linguistic  and  is  the  creation  epistemic  of  literary  concerns  are  texts  in  inextricably  intertwined. An investigation of these metaphors of word will show how these American writers use language both as the subject matter of their writing and as a source of figurative language. metaphors understood thinking  of  word  enabled  about the and  to  both  them  relationship  explore  that  to  affirm  between using  relationship  Using  what  language  further.  they and The  14 metaphorics  of  this  epistemic search: what we  know.  literature will  show  that  theirs  was  an  they sought to understand how we come to know  Underwriting these metaphors  of word was  the  belief that the process by which we use language could provide a  perspective  truth.  for  examining  the process  by  which  we  discern  While the particular kind of truth sought by each writer  was distinct, they were all absorbed with the epistemic process and  the way  language  informs  this process.  In  their minds,  thinking and using language were inextricably linked, metaphorics of their texts reveals this bond.  and the  Their metaphors  of word served to provide a cognitive perch from which to view the ways they came to understand themselves and their world. Furthermore, cognitive  that  these  devices  for  writers  choose metaphors  understanding  the  of  episteinic  word  as  process  suggests how their nineteenth—century audience might also have regarded the relationship between language and knowledge. This  shift  from  writing  to  speaking  source of literary metaphor is decisive, depreciation  of  the  written  privileging of the spoken word.  text  as  the  privileged  involving an ongoing  alongside  the  continual  It is my contention that speech  imagery is preferred over writing imagery because the voice was valued over the book in the nineteenth—century culture. of  this  claim,  I will  show that these metaphors  As part  of word are  aligned with ways of discovering truth, so that writing imagery is  paired  intuition.  with  reason  and  speaking  imagery  is  linked  with  At the same time that the voice was valued over the  15 book,  there was  preference  a  intuition  for  over  reason  as  a  source of truth. Furthermore,  at  times  these  writers  resorted  to  an  expressed silence metaphor to represent the relationship between metacognition and interior speech.  In this alignment,  a self—  conscious understanding of some ideas (like God, the self, human passion,  and death)  is associated with silent internal speech.  In  metaphor,  attending  this  conscious  attempt  to  to  silence  reflects  understand particularly  the  elusive  self-  truths.  This expressed silence metaphor highlights the way we can use unarticulated  speech——interior  speech——to  consider  those  eternally troublesome truths that we can never really access and further points to those elusive moments when knowing and being coalesce.  Lev Vygotsky has described the function of the “inner  speech” of an adult as “thinking for himself’ rather than for social  9 adaptation”  and  shifting,  unstable thing,  (149).  In  the  characterizes  it  as  “a  dynamic,  fluttering between word and thought”  metaphorics  of  word,  silence  marks  this  “fluttering” state when we are aware of our thinking. I  believe that  it  is  this expressed silence metaphor of  word that is the most significant feature of the metaphorics of nineteenth—century American highlights language publicly,  how  was  this  literature  culture  appreciated  for  valued its  a  because  of  private  logos.  capacity  to  the way  it  While  proclaim  ideas  or these writers would not have written at all,  it is  the capacity that language has for helping them to be aware that  16 they know what they know that these writers most valued. capacity  pointing  for  thought,  expressed  simultaneously  silence  to  emerges  both  as  a  In its  language  and  metaphor  for  metacognit ion. these  For  nineteenth—century  epistemic access;  writers,  language  provided  it was through the process of making meaning  with words that they came to understand truth.  Theirs was a  private logos because they valued words more for the way they enabled personal pursuits of truth than for the way they enabled public declaration of these truths.  For them,  using language  was a way of thinking, and that is why they spent so much time talking about language and drawing on it as a source of their metaphors. use  of  Because these writers were so preoccupied with the  language  for  the  active  sorting  through  of  ideas,  it  follows that they would look to speech, rather than writing, as the  most  implied  appropriate public  associations  of  conversations, dialogue, listener  source  audience, more was  of was  private  imagery. rejected;  audiences,  preferred.  The  Speech  book,  speech, such  as  implies  with  its  with in  some  its  personal kind  of  some kind of immediate exchange between speaker and in  a  way  that  writing  does  not.  The  book,  once  written, can simply lie there, waiting for the reader to engage with it; but the voice, once spoken, necessarily means that any listener within hearing range has been engaged, slightly.  no matter how  The book represents a finished product, the results  of thinking, while the voice represents the ongoing process of  17 thinking, a process of call and response by which a writer could even take both parts, potential  for  as both speaker and listener.  expressing  the  boundless  nature  of  With its truth,  the  voice is an attractive literary image. Method of Analysis In supporting these assertions, I will provide a discussion in  three  parts:  the  cultural  context  of  nineteenth—century  America, the metaphoric system within each subject text, and the role of the expressed silence metaphor within these metaphoric systems.  Since I contend that the voice is one of those images  that  acquired  has  symbolic  meaning  both  by  its  use  in  the  culture and in the literature, in chapter two I will discuss the political,  economic,  aesthetic,  and  religious  features  of  nineteenth—century American culture which would have resulted in a high regard for the human voice and which help account for its symbolic import.  In this discussion of the cultural context,  attention will be drawn to four main factors which contributed to the voice being so value—charged: on  the  book,  individual, Romanticism  mercantilism and  its  view  democracy and its emphasis  and of  its the  commodifying writer  as  of  the  seer,  and  Calvinism and its theological provisions for both the book and the voice. show  In discussing these four cultural features,  how the  voice  acquired symbolic meaning  outside  I will of  the  literary texts. Following  this  discussion  of  the  cultural  context,  in  chapters three, four, and five I will take up the four literary  18 texts and their metaphoric systems for the purpose of discerning the metaphors of word used and of observing how they contribute to a common perspective.  In this metaphoric study,  I will use  the procedures as outlined by Foss as typical of a rhetorical approach:  an investigation of the literary artifact as a whole,  a classification of metaphors into various clusters or groups, an  identification  groups,  an  evaluation  of  analysis of  the  specific of  metaphors  these  metaphoric  within  specific  system  of  these  metaphors, each  text  basic  and  an  (191-194).  While Foss places identification of specific metaphors second in the sequence, I have chosen to discuss the classification of the metaphor groups before examining specific metaphors.  Although  my original line of inquiry followed Foss’ sequence,  I believe  that the discussion of my findings will profit from an earlier exposition emphasize  of  the  the  metaphor  commonality  types of  because  metaphors  intent  my  used  and,  is  to  thus,  to  highlight the similarity of basic metaphor types. In investigating each literary artifact as a whole, I will examine how the images of the voice and the book operate in the four  texts  both  as  figurative expression. way the domain of expression,  it  literal  order  to  metaphorical  discern meaning,  as  also  is used as a source of necessary  acknowledging how language operates In  and  sources  of  While I aim to focus attention on the  language is  components  how we  the  need  to  to  spend  figurative some  time  literally in these texts.  domain see  of  how  language it  serves  serves literal  19 meaning  each  in  text.  This  need  establishing  for  overall  literary context is crucial in understanding how a particular metaphor operates in the overall literary experience of a text. As  Philip  Stambovsky  explains,  an  image  obtains  metaphorical  meaning in terms of the whole experience of reading the text and discovering certain themes: phenomenon” literary  which  themes  A “depictive  acquires that  2 consciousnes ° s.”  its  occur  We  meaning  in  the  experience  image”  “in  the  medium  specific  is a  unfolding the  of  “field  metaphors  of  reader’s within  a  text in terms of the overall literary experience; we understand certain  images  understand figurative  in  terms  literary action.  themes After  directions within a text, at  how  the  of  metaphors  of  the in  unfolding  terms  of  establishing  themes,  both  the  and  literal  overall  we and  thematic  I will then move on to a closer look word  relate  to  those  themes.  In  discussing the figurative uses, I will show how the metaphors of word operate similarly in all four texts and how the speaking metaphors assume special significance. that  there  metaphors,  is to  a  pronounced  I want to demonstrate  progression  speaking metaphors,  until  away  we  get  from  writing  to Moby Dick  where “silence reigns.” In  the  classification,  evaluation of the metaphors  identification, in each text,  analysis,  and  I will rely on the  theoretical framework provided by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980)  in  their  experiential-gestalt  investigation of metaphors.  Because  I  approach  am more  to  interested  the in  20 identifying  the  patterns  metaphors  of  and  how  they  are  culturally influenced than in explaining how they are obtained linguistically, way  that  it  the experiential approach  accounts  “systematicity” ’ 2 daily. words,  They but  of  for  evident argue  in the  that  Lakoff  what  and  Johnson  common metaphors  metaphor  thoughts.  is pertinent  is  not  assert  They  a  that  we  mere  in the  call  the  encounter matter  metaphor  of  is  a  conceptual phenomenon that results from the way we experience the world and that these resulting gestalts serve to structure both our thinking and our language and become the “metaphors we live  Because  by.”  they  are  concerned  with  showing  the  conceptual schemes inherent in various metaphors and discerning the systematic nature of these schemes, helpful  in  operating account  in  revealing  the metaphors  identifies  viewed as a system. they  the  highlight  their approach will be  systematicity  that  of word under  study here.  coherency  across  metaphors  I  believe  when  is  Their  they  are  Thus different metaphors can be coherent if  different  contradicting each other  aspects  (94-95).  of  a  concept  Furthermore,  while  not  their emphasis  on how these metaphors are culturally based is fundamental to my investigation as well Essentially,  (9).  the experiential theory seeks to demonstrate  the systematic nature of our metaphorical usage by identifying the  common  patterns  of  metaphor  used  within  our  culture.  Critical to their discussion is the contention that it is the metaphor  in  the  mind  that  they  are  most  interested  in  21 discerning,  so that when they speak of metaphor,  “it should be  understood that metaphor means metaphorical concept” (6).  Their  classification system establishes an index to those metaphorical concepts that provide the basic mental gestalts which serve to structure our experiences and which are articulated by a variety of linguistic expressions (5).  It is to these basic conceptual  metaphors that they give priority in their discussion, and that I am using as  a guide  in sorting the basic metaphors of word  that operate in the subject texts. Although Lakoff and Johnson are not concerned with poetic metaphors speech,  so  much  as  with  those  that  are  used  everyday  in  they do propose a view of metaphor that can be applied  to literary metaphor and which George Lakoff and Mark Turner use at greater length in their guide to poetic metaphor, More Than Cool Reason. main  kinds  of  understand The  The experiential—gestalt view establishes three basic  life:  structural  conceptual  structural, metaphor  metaphors  which  orientational,  refers  to  one  we  use  to  and ontological.  concept  which  is  metaphorically structured in terms of another, such as “ARGUMENT IS  (Lakoff  WAR”  organizes another “HAPPY  a  and  whole  system  and usually IS  UP”  Johnson  (14).  of  involves The  4).  The  metaphors a spatial  ontological  orientational with  respect  relationship, metaphor  metaphor to  one  such as  represents  a  non—discrete item as a discrete entity, such as “THE MIND IS AN ENTITY”  (26).  I will use these three metaphor types,  then,  to  survey the basic metaphors that I observe in my subject texts.  22 As Lakoff and Turner have noted,  these basic metaphors are the  ones  a  that  are  fundamental  to  culture  and  that  use  we  automatically and frequently. 22 Using studying  the  categories  the metaphors  of  the  of word  experiential  in the  catalogue  subject texts,  I  in  have  identified two recurring structural metaphors:  UNDERSTANDING IS  SEEING  Turner  94)  as  Sweetser  (Lakoff  UNDERSTANDING notes,  and  IS  Johnson  HEARING.  48,  Lakoff  These  and  metaphors,  Eve  and  are basic metaphors and are universal or near—universal  features  in  metaphors,  all  Indo—European  she explains,  lexical  23 systems.  These  are based on their etymologies and on  the close connections that the perception verbs “see” and “hear” have with understanding (31-35). experiential  account  understanding  on  data  because  Her explanation reinforces the since  obtained  by  we  tend  the  eyes  to  base  our  and  ears,  our  experience causes us to structure the domain of understanding in terms of the domains of sight and hearing. The naming of these two basic structural metaphors prompts a  question  about  understanding  the  difference  associated  with  between seeing  understanding associated with hearing? both  hearing  processing,  and but  sight that  are  hearing  is  rather  than  associated with seeing,  in  the  how  different  is  from  the the  Sweetser observes that  associated  communicative kind of understanding, saying,”  them:  more  with  intellectual  restricted  to  a  as in “I hear what you’re  broad  kind  of  intellection  as in “I see what you mean.”  She says  23 that “It would be a novelty for a verb meaning ‘hear’ to develop a usage meaning ‘know’ rather than ‘understand’, whereas such a usage  is  common  UNDERSTANDING since just  it  IS  applies  mental  difference:  for  verbs  meaning  SEEING would  ‘see’.  In  seem to have more  this  applications  to a general kind of understanding,  reception. hearing,  However,  Sweetser  and not  identifies  in contrast with seeing,  way,  another  is also used to  represent the kind of understanding that leads to obedience (4243).  With  these  linguistic  considerations  in  mind,  we  can  consider how these two basic structural metaphors operate in the subject texts. To be in keeping with my portrayal of these as metaphors of word which structure ways of understanding,  and to reflect  their use more accurately in the texts I am studying, I will use a more text—specific version of these two structural metaphors and  restate  them  as  RATIONAL  UNDERSTANDING  INTUITIVE UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING. the process  of understanding  IS  READING  and  In these two metaphors,  rationally  is  structured  by the  process of reading, and the process of understanding intuitively is structured by the process of listening.  I take them to be  variations of the two more generally-stated metaphors discussed above.  In addition, I have observed a third basic metaphor that  is related to the structural metaphor RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING IS READING,  but  which  KNOWLEDGE IS A BOOK.  is  an  ontological  metaphor:  RATIONAL  I will show how these three metaphors are  coherent within the metaphoric systems of these texts because  24 they  highlight  different,  process of knowing.  but  compatible,  recorders,  recorded  in  the  a  way  human that  voice  the  was  Before the advent of  could  not  comparable  determinate covers of a bound book. writers’  of  It is important to note that there is no  corresponding ontological voice metaphor. tape  features  to  be  objectively  the  physically  I would argue that these  elevation of the hearing structural metaphor,  rather  than a related ontological metaphor, signals their concern with both the linguistic and epistemic processes more than with their resulting  products.  metaphors  of word,  Having  identified  these  three  basic  I will use them in succeeding chapters to  analyze and evaluate the metaphoric systems of each text. Chapter six of my discussion will focus on the role that the  expressed  silence  systems.  This  metaphors  RATIONAL  UNDERSTANDING metaphor: SILENCE.  metaphor  IS  metaphor is  a  plays  complex  UNDERSTANDING  IS  in  these  variation READING  LISTENING which results  in a  metaphoric  of and  the  basic  INTUITIVE  new structural  SELF-CONSCIOUS UNDERSTANDING IS READING/LISTENING TO The process of intuitive understanding is structured  in this metaphor by the process of attending to silent, interior voices.  Important to note is that this metaphor is NOT coherent  with the other three metaphors of word discussed so far because it introduces a basic contradiction that does not fit with the other four  structural texts,  this  metaphors: expressed  attending silence  to  24 silence.  metaphor  In  highlights  all what  interior speech can provide to an understanding of certain ideas  25 that can not be understood in any other way. While the silence metaphor is common to all four texts,  it  is expressed differently in each one and is used to represent a self—conscious awareness of different elusive ideas: self, human passion, and death.  God,  the  In Nature, “mute gospel” is one  linguistic expression of this metaphor and represents the way that listening to the silent voice of nature can reveal the “god within.” phrase comes  In Walden,  speaking silence finds expression in the  “silent harmony” to  hear  nature.  his  own  and points to the way the unique  inner  voice  in  the  individual company  of  In The Scarlet Letter, the pairing of “unuttered” with  “sympathy” expresses an understanding of how people come to know the truths of the heart by listening to their own inner voices. And  in  Moby  Dick,  Melville’s  phrase  “pyramidical  silence”  conveys the expressed silence metaphor and acknowledges the way that  language  cannot access  truths,  like death,  and  can only  enable each person to name for himself what it is that he does not understand. It  is this expressed silence metaphor and its variations  that I find most significant in the metaphorics of nineteenth century American literature because it calls attention to their view of language in such a novel way.  It highlights the power  of interior speech and its potential for making us aware of our powers  of  language  understanding while recognizing can  take  us  only  so  far.  The  an  ultimate  expressed  limit: silence  metaphor satisfies a need that other metaphors of word can not  26 accomplish:  the need for voicelessness,  for it is the silence  that so effectively represents the place where being and knowing merge. To summarize, to  move  from  description  then, my overall method of analysis will be  an  of  overview  the  of  metaphoric  the  cultural  systems  in  context,  each  text,  to  a  to  a  discussion of the role of expressed silence in these metaphoric systems.  This three—part analysis comprises the five remaining  chapters.  Chapter two,  “From The Culture of the Book to the  Culture of the Voice,” traces four features of nineteeth—century America which together influenced the shift from book to voice: democracy, three,  mercantilism,  “The  Voice  of  Romanticism,  and Calvinism.  the Translator  in Nature  Chapter  and Walden,”  describes the similar way in which Emerson and Thoreau look to language Tongue  for  of  transcendental  Flame  knowledge.  in The Scarlet Letter,”  Chapter  four,  “The  concerns Hawthorne’s  attention to language as a way of understanding human passion. Chapter five,  “Voices of Negation in Moby Dick,” focuses on the  ultimate failure of language to account for human suffering and death.  Chapter  six,  “The  Literacy  of  Silence,”  presents  a  discussion of the expressed silence metaphor in all four texts and of how it contributes to the metaphorics of word.  27 Chapter 1 Notes 1.  See Rene Dirven, Lexicon,” in The and Thought, pp. philosophers and activity.  2.  Eva Kittay, Metaphor: Its Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure, p. 13. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  3.  Frederich Nietzsche,  4.  l.A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, p.  5.  Kenneth Burke,  6.  George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, p. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  7.  See E.R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, pp. 128—144, for a general discussion of metaphorics and All pp. 302-347 for a discussion of “The Book as Symbol.” subsequent page citations are in the text.  8.  Richard Poirier, A World Elsewhere: American Literature, p. 5.  The Place of Style in  9.  Kenneth Burke,  10.  “Metaphor as a Basic means for Extending the Ubiquity of Metaphor: Metaphor in Language 85-86 for a discussion of how modern linguists agree on metaphor as a cognitive  “On Truth and Lying,” pp.  “Four Master Tropes,”  Counter-Statement, p.  252-254. 92.  Kenyon Review, p.421. 6.  10. Sonja K. Foss, Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice, All subsequent page citations are in the text. p. 190. 11.  See Lane Cooper, The Rhetoric of Aristotle, p. 17, for a discussion of epideictic rhetoric as one of the three kinds of discourse.  12.  See Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg, The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present, pp. 901—902, for a discussion of how modern theorists such as Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida demonstrate this theme that rhetoric is epistemic.  13.  Sonja K. Foss, Karen A. Foss, and Robert Trapp, Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric, p. 251. See Robert L. Scott, “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic,” Central States Speech Journal, 18 (February 1967), p. 17 and “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic: Ten Years Later,” Central States Speech Journal, 27 (Winter 1976), pp. 258—266.  14.  Norman Friedman, Form and Meaning in Fiction,  p.  288.  28  15.  See Angus Fletcher, Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode, p. 17, notes 30 and 31, for a discussion of how allegory and metaphor are expressed linguistically and how “symbol is supralinguistic.” All subsequent citations are in the text.  16.  See S.T. Coleridge, Miscellaneous Criticism, p. 29, for original discussion of this distinction between allegory and symbol.  17.  See Kenneth Burke, Language as Symbolic Action, p. 2, for a discussion of this general concern with ‘symbolic action’.  18. Roderick P. Hart, Modern Rhetorical Criticism, p. 19.  Lev Vygotsky, Thought and Action, citations are in the text.  p.18.  20. Phillip Stambovsky, The Depictive Image: Literary Experience, p. 6. 21.  219.  All subsequent page  Metaphor and  Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By 7. Note how the experiential account poses rhetorical concerns in its regard for the cultural context of language use, pp. 22-24, and in its intimation that language is epistemic, p. 68.  22. George Lakoff and Mark Turner, More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor, p. 5. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  23. See Eve Sweetser, From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure, p. 33, for a discussion of UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING and pp. 41-43, for a discussion of UNDERSTANDING IS HEARING. All subsequent page citations are in the text. 24.  See Lakoff and Turner, p. 71, for a discussion of the “conceptual power of poetic metaphor.” They might explain the silence metaphor as a “novel extension” of UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING, but the experiential challenges of “listening to silence” would make this explanation problematic.  29  CHAPTER 2 FROM A CULTURE OF THE BOOK TO A CULTURE OF THE VOICE Cultural Spheres of Influence Moving from a belief that a metaphorics of word operates in nineteenth—century American attitude  toward  writing  literature  and  speaking  details of this perceived unity.  reveals  and  imagery,  I  a  unified  am  seeking  Assumed in this search is the  understanding that typically there is a coherency between the fundamental values of a culture and its literary imagery,  and  given this assumed coherency, a consideration of cultural norms is in order.  Surveying cultural values in a certain time period  necessarily  involves  an  equivocating  spirit  or  least  at  a  willingness to distil patterns from selected details because the distances  of  both  time  and  place  require  that  one  rely  on  certain generalizations and establish certain qualifications. focus  My  will  century; however, made  to  the  events  one  that  and  includes  the  attitudes  first  half  of  the  nineteenth  often  the  evident  for  years  and  even  The specific time frame under consideration  literature during this which  on  I acknowledge that references will need to be  centuries earlier. is  be  emerges  in  century:  years  which  any discussion 1830 are  to  18551:  of  American  a time span  referenced  by  F.  0.  Matthiessen in his study of the “American Renaissance” and which embraces the publishing of the four subject texts. 2  My aim is  30 to identify certain societal patterns which emerge during this time  period  and which  are  compatible with  voice as a cultural and literary symbol.  an  esteem  for  the  Since cultural values  are inherently dynamic and elude any monolithic description, do not purport to enumerate absolutes. deliberately narrow,  I  Furthermore, my focus is  and the cultural trends of  interest here  are only those which I believe have a significant link to the language  imagery under study.  An historical  overview of the  pertinent cultural inclinations of this time will thus provide a grounding for the discussion of the metaphorical systems to follow. As René Wellek and Austin Warren observed about this kind of historical  overview,  “While a period is thus a  section of  time to which some sort of unity is ascribed, it is obvious that this unity can be only relative. this period a fully”  (qtd.  It merely means that during  certain scheme of norms has been realized most in Clark)  .  Since I am assuming that there is a  metaphorical system operating in these texts,  it is a cultural  “scheme” that I want to explore because of its advantages for metaphoric analysis.  Furthermore,  it is important to emphasize  that I am not interested in establishing the precise nature of the relationship between discourse and social practices, as many modern philosophers have done. 4  Instead,  I am considering the  cultural situation as a gloss on the literary texts. discourse activity  can be  be  viewed  viewed  as  as  a  social  discourse,  act, as  so  too  another  can text  Just as social to  be  31 interpreted. between  Given  metaphor  my  and  assumptions symbol,  the  about  this  study  relationship  is  necessarily  “intertextual” in this way. This approach is similar to that taken by Jesse Gilirich in his  exploration  “structuring  of  how  the  principle”  in  “idea the  of  Book”  the  middle  provided  5 ages.  Based  a on  Foucault’s idea of a cultural “episteme,” Gelirich contends that the Book represents an episteme evident in such cultural forms as  architecture  fourteenth.  and  Just  music as  he  from  the  fourth  presents  his  century  to  discussion  the  as  a  “consideration of the conditions of signifying that produced the great  books  examine the  the  of  middle  ages”  (19),  so  too  do  I  mean  to  ‘conditions of signifying’ that produced the great  books of the nineteenth century. spheres  Four  of  influence  in  nineteenth—century  culture  emerge as having particular importance to this metaphoric study: political,  economic,  aesthetic,  and religious.  The intent of  the following discussion is to suggest how certain features of each sphere resonate with the imagery used in the texts under study.  While  each  area  could  be  viewed  as  continuous  with  another, the purpose here is to emphasize each one as a separate cultural form. suggest  how  these  valued symbol. audience  and  Relying on an historical footing, cultural  patterns  support  the  I will then voice  as  a  The rhetorical focus in this section is on the on  how  prevailing  cultural  influenced their expectations as readers.  values  might  have  My major contention  32 is that the confluence of these four cultural spheres reflects a degradation of the written text and an elevation of the spoken word as a source of authority,  a shift that corresponds to a  devaluation of writing  and a  imagery  in the  imagery  literature.  In  revaluation of  short,  1830  by  speaking  in America,  a  culture of the book had become a culture of the voice. The Influence of Democracy As a fledgling democracy in the early 1800’s, America was experiencing an acute tension between the public good of the nation  and  the  resolution  of  private this  need  tension  of was  the to  citizen. place  The  in  cultural  background  the  collective consciousness and to put in foreground a sense of the individual.  While  identification  of  historians  prevailing  norms  would agree that individualism, democratic  ideals,  range  during  this  in  their  period,  most  released by the profession of  was preeminent.  Declaration of Independence,  considerably  In such documents  as the  a commitment to the “inherent and  inalienable  rights”  Furthermore,  since these democratic credos had proclaimed that  governments  derive  of  the  their  individual  power  “from  had  the  been  consent  declared.  of  the  governed,” the primary authority for governing became vested in the individual citizen. This  confidence  strengthened Franklin,  by  the  in  the  capacity  influence  of  of  figures  the  individual  such  as  was  Benjamin  who declared his belief in human perfectability and  made obvious attempts to realize this potential.  Not only were  33 there citizens  like Franklin who  human potential, the  nineteenth  programs  in the  but also there were more and more citizens in century  and,  as  individualism of movements”  justified this trust  Harry  the age  (123).  became  who  Hayden  is  active Clark  expressed by  in  human  has its  rights  noted,  “the  external reform  Such movements as Abolitionism and Women’s  Rights manifested this concern with individual worth and with the growing inclination to talk about how to improve the lot of the common person. entered  politics  For example, in 1839, the anti—slavery view with  the  formation  the  of  Liberty  Party  by  moderate abolitionists, and in 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights was called to order. 6 reforms  such  as  these  signaled  the  By mid—century, social  shift  of  emphasis  from  colonial rights to human rights. More than half a century earlier, had  called  for  a  collective good,  tipping  of  the  the break from England  scales  on  the  side  of  the  and revolutionary rhetoric had reflected the  readiness to count a liberated state above a human life: me liberty or give me death.”  “Give  But the Revolution was over and  Franklin’s call for self—improvement prompted others to respond, so that a need emerged for talk of singular people, model  citizen  types,  but  ordinary  citizens  as  not just  well.  The  democratic context prompted a concern with people, taken one at a  time,  addition  and  an  to  the  interest  in the person——the  inner  public citizen taken en masse.  person——in Larzer  Ziff  quotes Alexis de Tocqueville in his prediction that such would  34 be the predominant theme of any democratic nation: taken aloof presence  from his country and his age and standing in the  of  democratic  “man himself  Nature  state,  and  the  of  focus  God”  (260).  shifted  In  from  the  the  evolving  Declaration  Independence to the independent human spirit itself, liberating which  document  stated  to  the  democratic  liberated person.  ideals  were  from the  The  actually  of  extent  being  to  realized  during this time is not the issue so much as the consensus that the democratic valuing of the individual was paramount in the society.  In  other  words,  the  emphasis  had  moved  from  the  printed texts’ publishing of human rights to the human capacity for proclaiming these rights--to the voicing itself. That attentive  the to  assumed.  writers the  As  F.  of  this  political 0.  time  reality  Matthiessen  period of  were  their  remarks,  particularly  country “the  can  one  be  common  denominator” that these four writers shared “was their devotion to  the  possibilities  of  democracy”  (viii).  This  democratic  insistence on the individual’s voice in the midst of the public clamor is illustrated by Whitman’s inscription added to the 1867 edition  of  Leaves  of  Grass:  “One’s  self  I  sing,  a  simple,  separate Person; yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse”  authors  were  liberated state  (qtd.  in Ziff 244).  more  immediately  As H.H.  Clark notes, democratic  concerned  with  individuals than they were with the  (123).  themselves  as  freedom of the  This longing to tell of the separate person and  yet affirm the masses challenged all writers during these years.  35 Tocqueville’s  prediction  that  in  writers  a  democracy  would  attend to the individual heart and mind is certainly supported by the texts of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, So “aloof  and Melville.  it was that this yearning to speak of the from his  country”  and yet to  individual  affirm support  for that  country provided the challenge facing writers of this time, just as it created an expectation for all citizens.  And not only did  the young democracy call for talk about the private individual, it  provided  Because  more  opportunities  the whole  concept  of  for  speaking  democracy  and  by its  individuals. faith  in the  individual implied that there would be more attention paid to the voice of the common person, their voices to be heard.  more  forums were created for  The Revolution had afforded statesmen  and military leaders platforms for issuing urgent calls to arms, and now more speaking opportunities were provided to ordinary citizens.  America already had a strong tradition of oratory,  and the elocutionary movement of the early eighteenth century had  revived  an  interest  in  public  speaking.  Clark  has  acknowledged how the creation and rapid growth of the lyceum in the  late  1820’s  opportunities more active that  the  politic,  for more  (180).  the  a  lecture  speakers,  as  bureau  which  faciliated  traveling orators  became  Given this oral tradition and the belief  democratic  authority. function  provided  voice  center of  the  of  authority  common  person  resided  in  resounded  the with  This increased regard for orality in America, of  its  burgeoning  democratic  values,  echoes  body new as a the  36  situation  in the Greek city-state of fifth-century B.C.,  when  the new democratic principles afforded ordinary people with new forums for speaking, such as the courts. 7  Whether the voice of  the people in a democracy carries real influence in policymaking does not seem to matter so much as the fact that the democratic platform inherently connotes a valuing of the individual voice. There is an obligation implicit in democratic rhetoric to value the voice of the common person and to provide opportunities for this voicing. The Influence of Mercantilism this  Alongside citizen’s America  voice,  during  democratic  there these  was  attention economic  an  years,  a  shift  to  the  shift  which  1830,  the  factory  system  grew  occurring  resulted  corresponding re—evaluation of individual labor. and  individual  dramatically,  in  in a  Between 1820 prompting  shift from a sustenance economy to a marketing economy.  a  People  no longer raised crops and made things strictly for their own use but,  instead, began marketing them for money.  an individual’s effort was rewarded, satisfaction,  As a result,  not only with a sense of  but also with monetary benefits.  Faith  in the  potential for self—government was accompanied by a growing faith in personal enterprise, as individual initiative paid off.  This  emerging mercantilism resulted in a new measure for assessing individual productivity:  The worth of a person’s work was equal  to its marketplace value. As  part  of  this  economic  expansion,  the  new mercantile  37 economy made the writing of literature a commercial venture and resulted in a depreciation of the book as an aesthetic object. As  Gilmore  Michael  contends,  “Literature  itself  became  an  article of commerce at this time (1832-1860), as improvements in manufacture,  distribution,  promotion  and  national audience for letters.” 8 and  helped  a  90%  literacy  rate  and  create  a  Improved printing techniques  lower paper costs meant that books cost  with  to  more  less to buy and,  leisure  time,  a  growing  audience of American readers provided a ready market for these lower priced books  (3—4).  The cheaper price and the increased  number of consumers meant that books sold in greater quantities. Although  books  were  now more  became less valuable.  affordable  and  available,  they  In a marketplace economy where selling  price equates with worth, the higher the price and the rarer the item, the more valuable it is; the lower the price and the more available the item, the less valuable it is. was acknowledged by Tocqueville in 1840:  This depreciation  “The ever increasing  crowd of readers and their continual craving for something new ensure the added)  .  sale of books that nobody much In  this  way,  the  economically and aesthetically.  book  esteems”  became  cheapened  readers,  so  much  peddled along with other wares.  both  Books were no longer considered  artistic expressions of a writer’s mind and soul, like—minded  (emphasis  as  marketable  shared with  products  to  be  Unlike the cherished, carefully  crafted artifact of earlier centuries, the book became just one more commodity competing for the consumer’s attention.  38 Furthermore, because of the competition with cheaper books published abroad,  the books written by American writers were  devalued even further.  Since copyright laws protected American  books but did not govern foreign books, printers profited much more from printing the ones written by foreign authors.  Clark  has emphasized how in 1820, the majority of books purchased and read in America were actually written/printed abroad (182). a  consumer good,  then,  As  the American book did not rank highly  because the margin of profit was smaller than for its foreign counterpart. Noteworthy is the fact that American books by male writers were  even  further  commercialization  of  demeaned  during  literature.  this  The  period  sales  of  of  rapid  many  women  writers so far surpassed those of men on the popular market that the mid-century years have been dubbed the ‘feminine fifties’. Domestic novels written by women had far larger sales than books written by the Romantic writers under consideration here. example,  of  two books published  in  1850,  For  Hawthorne’s Scarlet  Letter sold between five and six thousand copies, while Susan B. Warner’s The Wide, Wide World sold forty thousand copies in less than a year.  Given that Hawthorne had a larger audience than  the other Romantics, financially  from the  these male writers clearly did not profit sale of  their books  (Gilmore  7).  As  a  result, the books of the American writers under study here would have come to be associated with their diminished value in the American marketplace.  In general,  as the book became more and  39  more of a commodity and continued to drop in market value, too  did  it  depreciate  as  a  valued  symbol  the  in  so  American  culture. The Influence of Romanticism  Besides the influences of the democratic state and of the marketplace, aesthetic values were being profoundly affected by the rise of Romanticism. books,  the  tenets  generated  in  available  to  the  of  late  American  Given the  British 1700’s  availability of  Romanticism,  and  early  audiences.  which  1800’s,  had  were  general,  In  European been  readily  Romanticism  transformed aesthetic principles by shifting the focus from the work  of  art  marketplace  to  the  creative  concern  with  process.  the  aesthetic valued the process. resulted  in  elevation  resuscitation  a  of  the  In  final  contrast  product,  the  individual writer  literary at the  same  Romanticism  of  called  for  a  written product toward the human writer.  intuition; preference  the  the for  superior  equation inner  of  faculty, the  sight  time  and  an  that  it  away  from  the  and away from the  Three primary features  of the Romantic theory are at issue here: imagination,  Romanticism  The fundamental  shift  written product toward the literary process,  the  Romantic  process  prompted a further depreciation of the book. principles  the  Given this context, of  with  the alignment of the  with  the  poem with  the  (insight)  over  process  poet; mere  and  of the  sight  (observation). By  displacing  rational  reasoning  with  intuition  as  the  40 favored source of truth, British Romantic theory placed product in  the  background  and  foregrounded process.  Because  of  its  associations with the imagination, the intuitive process became aligned with the creative process.  In distinguishing between  the  Samuel  Fancy  and  the  Imagination,  Taylor  Coleridge  articulated the Romantic definition of the literary process as one  by  which  the  10 qualities.” editor  John  In  poet  his  unified  “opposite  introduction  Shawcross  discordant  Coleridge’s  to  acknowledges  or  that  this  treatise,  imaginative,  unifying process was understood as a “direct intuitional act” In this way, the Romantic tradition identified intuition  (xxx). as  the primary poetic  act  other cognitive approach. viewed as a linear, organic,  dynamic  and proclaimed  it  superior  to  any  Logical reasoning (Understanding) was  static way of thinking in contrast to the process  of  intuition.  Because  it  was  understood as a direct apprehension of truth by the individual mind through the senses or imagination without the mediation of a  linear process of reasoning,  Furthermore,  because  syllogistic form, thus,  acquired  elevating the  intuition was deemed superior.  intuition  did  not  involve  a  standard  it was a process unique to each writer and,  additional  value  imaginative process,  from  its  originality.  the whole  By  literary process  was rejuvenated as well. Since the site of the imaginative, placed  in  the  mind  of  the  poet,  not  in  intuitive process was the  written  product  itself, the increased appreciation for the literary process was  41 accompanied by a new appreciation for the writer.  In Biographia  Literaria, Coleridge provides for this equation between the poem and the poet:  “What is poetry? is so nearly the same question  with, what is a poet? that the answer to the one is involved in the  solution  of  the  other”  (XIV.12).  Equating  the  poem  (product) with the poet (person) prompted a keen interest in the perspective.  individual Imagination  in  poetic essence, imaginative  action  Furthermore, that  was  it  was  the  poet’s  celebrated,  not  some  static  so that both the person of the writer and the  (intuitive)  process  were  elevated  above  any  resulting literary product.  Because of the value placed on the  intuitive  was  process,  appreciation writer.  for  there  the  a  particular  corresponding  insight  of  each  heightened individual  Furthermore, as Coleridge notes, because of individual  knowledge  and quality of  language  (XVI.  originality  of  feeling,  41).  This  each  person’s  each person  Romantic  spoke  preoccupation  creative  process  a unique with  the  displaced  interest in product and served to further demean the book.  an It  was the poet’s individual mind in progress that was central to Romantic theory, not the resulting product. book was valued only as a marker of the  In this scheme, the imaginative process,  rather than as an aesthetic object in itself. Moreover,  the  Romantic  portrayal  of  the  writer  as  seer  called for a new characterization of the literary process, that the writer was  defined as  a reader.  The  so  seer—poet was  described as an unusually adept reader, as one with the capacity  42 to perceive the unity in “discordant qualities.”  The resulting  shift was from a regard for mere sight (observation) to an even higher regard for inner sight (insight).  The writer was valued  not for simply observing the discord, but for the ability to see in a new way,  to understand without direct sight,  in the process of seeing.  and to unify  This conception of the writer as one  gifted in seeing interiorly was basic to the Romantic definition of  writer—as—seer.  Tony  Tanner  has  this  described  superior  angle of vision as a naive kind of looking, a “habit of wonder,” involving unanalyzed seeing.  Quoting Thoreau, Tanner notes that  in this kind of sight, “The sauntering innocent eye sees without 1 looking.”  In one way,  writer—as—seer  would  it would seem that the stress placed on  have  prompted  an  increased  valuing  writing imagery because of its visual quality.  However,  important  an  to  emphasize  here  that  this  was  different kind of seeing that was being advocated.  of  it is  altogether Furthermore,  because this Romantic vision called for an inner perception,  it  provided  is  for  generated  a  connection within  from  with  and  the  then  human  issues  voice,  which While  forth.  the  Romantics certainly paid attention to vision, their fundamental precepts implied that the sense of hearing be valued in a new and profound way. Tanner auditory  has  sense  noted and  how  the  portrayed  inadequate and deprived (30). the writer as  inner seer,  English  the  visual  Romantics  valued  perception  alone  the as  The Romantic characterization of  not as observer,  calls for——perhaps  43 even insists on——the central role of hearing. of the basic principles of their creed, on auditory imagery. the natural world  In the exposition  Romantics often relied  In outlining the writer’s relationship to  in his essay “On Poesy and Art,”  Coleridge  describes how the poet must learn to hear the silent voice of Nature:  “he must therefore absent himself for a season from her  (nature),  in  unspoken  order  language  Dejection Ode”  that his in  its  (1802),  own  spirit  radicals”  .  .  may  .  (lxxix).  learn her  And  in  “The  Coleridge characterizes the process by  which the writer hears his own inner self in the voice of Nature but emphasizes that it is the voice of the human soul that needs attention:  “And from the soul itself thus must be sent a sweet  and powerful voice,  of its own birth,  life and  (xxxviii).  element!”  Of all sweet sounds the  Here the elemental  life  force  issues forth from the individual soul as a resounding voice from which all other forces receive their the Romantic scheme, (even when  ‘sounds’  and energy.  In  the ability to hear this powerful voice  ‘unspoken’)  is essential to both successful  living  and effective writing. Wordsworth also described how Nature has that at times humans can hear.  a  living voice  In Book XIV of The Prelude,  at  lines 70—74, he suggests how hearing and seeing merge into a new mode of perception, a kind of sixth sense, when he describes how Nature’s voice speaks to us through the creative mind when he sees  in  infinity,  the  moon  “the  that broods  /  emblem  of  a  mind  /  Over the dark abyss,  That  feeds  upon  intent to hear  /  44 Its voices 2 stream .”  issuing forth to silent  /  light  In one continuous  Here the poet sees the visual emblem of a mind that  is listening to Nature’s voices,  and the phrase “silent light”  calls attention to the way that the creative process calls for a kind of “seeing with the ears.” six  of  how  listening.  silence  operates  More will be said in chapter in  this  remarkable  kind  of  While Tanner has questioned whether the American  Romantics demonstrate this same high estimation of the audito ry 3 I would argue that their most privileged images sense,’ imply this same deep regard for hearing and perhaps an even strong er distrust of mere sight. link  between  Emerson, the  the  Tanner himself calls attention to this  Romantic  vision  and hearing when  he  quotes  “things will sing themselves if we learn to listen in  right  way”  (38).  This  is  the  same  view  that  Whitman  vocalizes later on in the century when he boasts at line 564 in “Song  of Myself”:  14 reach.”  “My voice goes  after what my  eyes  cannot  Both of these American Romantics are emphasizing the  way that the voice serves their expressive needs in a way that the  book can not.  Romantics  Like their British counterparts,  demonstrate  their  reliance  on  auditory  American  imagery  to  portray their inner vision. By  privileging  the  artist’s  capacity  for  insight,  the  Romantics fostered a corresponding regard for the human voice. Not only was this affinity for the voice evident in the imager y of  those  poetry,  writers  who  articulated  the  principles  of  Romantic  it was demonstrated in the increased attention to music  45 With its associations  and song in general during this century.  of call and response, the speaking/listening process provided an objective  correlative  intuition  implies  for  that  creative  the  the  source  process.  truth  of  is  Since inside  the  individual, no external object--like the book--can appropriately represent this internal source.  As Curtius has noted, the “book  of reason” had been used by philosophers and theologians since the  twelfth  century  (320),  and  its  reason as the primary source of truth. as  intuition  the  epistemic  process  use  reflected  a  view  of  By replacing reason with choice,  of  however,  the  Romantics generated a need for some image that more fittingly reflected this cognitive view. being  both  outside),  internal  of  reason  portrayal  complex  (generated  could accommodate  displacement  The voice, with its capacity for  of  with  inside)  this  and  attitude.  As  H.  Clark  (heard  Furthermore,  provided  intuition  truth.  external  for  notes  a  the more  about  the  Romantic tradition, truth became more difficult to communicate (154). a  Knowledge was no longer considered simply the result of  rational,  intuitive,  linear  process;  organic process.  it  now  This  was  characterized  epistemic process  as  an  could no  longer be accommodated by visual imagery alone because it called for some way to represent the dynamic nature of its workings, and thus  it required a new reliance on auditory  imagery.  In  this way, the book of reason gave way to the voice of intuition. The Influence of Calvinism While  democracy,  mercantilism,  and  Romanticism  all  46 influenced the shift from a culture of the book to a culture of the  voice,  perhaps  no  other  single  feature  of  American  nineteenth—century life had as much effect on the roles of these symbols as the tradition of English Calvinism. and  Puritanism  strains,  began  in  the  sixteenth  they quickly merged in America.’ 5  While Calvinism  century  as  separate  Rooted in the early  sixteenth century when Calvin established its basic tenets, the Calvinist cultural  tradition  provided  influences  a  discussed  context so  for  the  Given  far.  generated by their conflicting principles,  other the  three  tension  Calvinism should be  viewed as the trend and democracy, mercantilism, and Romanticism as countertrends. to resist pervasive  the  In other words,  it was the deliberate effort  Calvinistic hold on all  attempt  to  secularize  areas  American  of  life  society  and the in  the  nineteenth century that prompted the rejection of Calvinism’s basic source of authority:  the Bible.  Before examining how the  decline of Calvinism was compatible with the decline of the book as  symbol,  social  I want to acknowledge briefly how the other three  spheres  discussed so  far operated  in tension with the  Democracy was at odds with Calvinism.  The capacity of the  religious influence.  individual to self-rule, a democratic ideal, conflicted with the Calvinist portrayal  of God as  Divine Monarch and  that humans defer to a divine ruler. the  one  attribute  6 sovereignty.’  of  God  that  its mandate  As Perry Miller concludes,  Calvinism most  emphasized was  Thus Calvinism was compatible with English rule  47 and the divine right of kings, but was directly opposed to the basic  democratic  precept  self-government.  of  For  the  good  citizen, democracy required an acknowledgement of self—worth and a sense of confidence in the common person’s ability to govern. Part of this confidence resulted from the democratic contention that  humans  destiny.  were  inherently  free  and had  In his discussion of Calvinism,  control  over  their  T. Herbert notes how  the believer must be willing to acknowledge total depravity and submission in exchange for a joyous reconciliation with God. 17 Despite ongoing attempts to adjust church doctrine to provide for  some  allowance  continually governing  for  rejected  ruler,  it  human  as  free  heresy  followed  will,  the  efforts  8 (Arminian).’  that  the  With  Bible,  as  a  were  God  as  divinely  inspired document, would be designated as the primary source of authority.  This religious precept also necessarily undermined  the status of any of the political manifestos composed by humans and meant that the only written document with real authority was the Bible. the  Regard for the Bible as the sole authority precluded  authority  of  any  other  written  texts,  resulting  in  an  elevation of the Book, but a denigration of the book. Mercantilism  also  clashed with  Calvinism.  Like  the  democratic state, the marketplace called for a confidence in the individual’s principle  of  potential Manifest  for  achievement.  Destiny  meant  that  Calvinism God’s  and  its  grace,  not  individual effort, resulted in heavenly reward; in contrast, the market economy provided for a personal work ethic and rewarded  48 individual  labor  with  monetary  profit.  The  profit  motive  generated an individual aggressiveness that was in tension with an obedient resignation to Divine Providence.  The interest in  material goods in itself ran counter to the call to resist this physical world and to seek a better,  spiritual world.  Working  for individual economic gain was fundamentally in conflict with the believer’s reliance on God as provider. system,  profit  earned  was  by  individual  In the mercantile  achievement;  in  the  In  the  Calvinist system, merit was bestowed by God. Romanticism  ran  Calvinistic design,  counter  to  Calvinism,  Divine Providence was  Romantic scheme, truth was knowable.  too.  inscrutable;  in the  Calvinism insisted on the  Bible as the chief authority, with Nature as a secondary source; Romanticism  replaced  written  sacred, unwritten text. of  final  definitive  with  Scripture  Nature  as  the  While the Bible represented the record  Truth,  Romantic  texts  records of process, of truth—in—the—making.  purported  to  be  Calvinism provided  for a universal priesthood; Romanticism established the writer as priest—prophet—seer, 9 natural text.’  whose mission it was to interpret the  The Romantic artist even seemed to assume the  role of a cultural redeemer at times, ° implying a blasphemous 2 arrogance in clear defiance of the Church’s insistence on human depravity. Romanticism ’ 2 religion. Calvinists  Morse was  Peckham  that  The  it  dogmas  has  remarked  created were  art  merely  expressed their beliefs  in  as  that an  the  result  of  alternative  to  presented  differently:  theocentric  terms,  and  49 Romantics offered their creeds in secular language. By the 1800’s then, the political, economic, and aesthetic were  trends  running  tradition. boundless  obvious  Instead of individual  emphasized. being  in  opposition  to  total human depravity, potential  the the  goodness  for  religious apparently was  being  Rather than divine sovereignty, human authority was  touted.  instead  And  of  studied as the text of truth.  the  Bible,  Nature  was  being  These emerging values served to  weaken a religious tradition that was already in decline. this  time,  the  contradictions  that  existed  within  By  Calvinist  theology itself were undermining its strength as an institution. Primarily,  became  it  increasingly  difficult  to  reconcile  the  Calvinist doctrines of God’s omniscience and the denial of human free will with the orthodox beliefs in the human expectation to willfully follow Christ and repudiate sin.  The ongoing effort  both to deny human free will and yet simultaneously to call for willful  acts  ultimately  could  not  be  sustained.  Its  own  internal inconsistencies, along with the prevalence of the other counterforces, have prompted many scholars to say that Calvinism had died out by the nineteenth century. of  Calvinist  dogma  and  its  reliance  This evident rejection on  the  Bible  certainly  support the view of a shift away from the culture of the book. That the book was the most conspicuous symbol associated with Calvinism  is  undisputable.  As  Alan  Simpson  has  remarked,  “Puritanism was the religion of a Book, and, without opportunity to  master  the  Book  and  to  engage  in  mutual  criticism  and  50 edification Rejection  around  of  it,  it  Calvinism  was  hard  implied  a  to  make  rejection  any  of  22 progress.”  the  book  as  a  cultural symbol. Calvinism, Christianity, and the Voice While  it  is  certain  that  Calvinism  did  not  have  the  predominant cultural hold that it did before the emergence of democracy,  mercantilism,  and  Romanticism,  there  reason to believe that its influence lingered.  is  adequate  Some scholars  have insisted that Calvinism persisted as a cultural determiner long after  its  into  twentieth  the  supposed demise and was a pervasive 23 century.  Since  influence  secularization  was  certainly on the move in the early 1800’s, no organized church had the apparent power it once had; and the many forces running counter to Calvinism would have resulted in its role being less perceptible than it once was. cultural  values  into  the  If Calvinism continued to shape  nineteenth  century,  and  there  is  sufficient reason to believe that it did, how can the symbol of the  voice  reconciled  be  with  the  Calvinist  reliance  on  the  Bible? A closer look at Calvinism reveals how it provided a place for  the  voice.  Calvin’s own words  Christian Religion the  book  and  the  Scripture to be Then  in  the  (1536) voice.  like  very  First,  sentence,  metaphor for God’s voice:  of the  establish a striking analogy between  eyeglasses  next  in the Institutes  he  establishes  the  role  of  for the human understanding. he  presents  the  Bible  as  a  51 Just as old or bleary-eyed men and those with weak vision, if you thrust before them a most beautiful volume, even if they recognize it to be some sort of writing, yet can scarecely construe two words, but with the aid of spectacles will begin to read distinctly; so Scripture, gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness, clearly shows us the true God. This [Scripture), therefore, is a special gift, where God, to instruct the church, not merely uses mute teachers but also opens his own most hallowed lips. 24 In  this  passage,  primary,  but  Calvin  since  God  suggests  that  and His works  the  (Nature)  Bible articulates the guide for living. substitute  for God’s voice.  divine  voice  are mute,  is the  The book becomes a  Not only does  Calvin’s  language  here privilege the symbol of the voice, but Calvinist dogma and practices provide for the role of orality——curiously perverse though it sometimes is. The perversity of orality’s role in Calvinism results from its being both a source of grace and a source of damnation.  As  a source of grace, speaking enabled ministers to spread the word of  God  and  church  members  to  their  confess  sins.  Although  church members were bound by the revealed word of Scripture, the word was typically heard by the congregation and was mouthed by human ministers. as  if  they  Homilists often urged their hearers to listen  were  listening  to  God’s  very  voice.  Jonathan  Edwards, for example, refers to the eagerness with which hearers “drank 25 mouth.  in  the  words  Simpson  of  has  the  minister  observed  how  as in  they Puritan  came  from  texts,  his  God’s  voice was characterized as heard both internally by the heart and externally by the ear  (76).  A high regard for God’s voice  52 in this way was certainly compatible with a religion that put more stock in the invisible than in the visible and which urged its  members,  symbolic of  as  Ziff  reminds  the hidden”  us,  (141).  to  “read  the  In this way,  visible  the voice as  as a  symbol of invisible speech was more in keeping with Calvinist theology than the visible book. Another advantage of orality was the confession of saving grace,  which was a voiced spiritual biography required of any  candidate faith. public  sainthood,  for  For a time, confession  and which was  a mainstay of  American Puritans were required to make a  for  Church membership.  confession could be a source of grace,  While  the  public  it was also a source of  damnation for those accused of witchcraft. witch trials,  Puritan  In the New England  the bewitched who confessed were self—damned and  then executed.  In a curious twist,  the alleged witches in the  Salem witch trials who confessed to complicity with the devil were  “saved”  way,  the  from  voice  damnation,  and  death,  could its  be  dual  though a  eternally  source  of  associations  26 damned.  both  salvation  reflected  the  In  this  and  of  contra  dictions within Calvinist dogma. Although orality operated in this perversely dual way at times within Calvinism, generally it played a positive role and provided church members with their main source of saving grace. Furthermore,  it should be emphasized here that the voice had  always enjoyed a favored place as a Christian symbol of divine presence.  In  the  Bible,  all  three  members  of  the  God—head  53 speak.  The authoritative voice of God the Father often is heard  speaking from a cloud or from a burning bush. word  flesh  made  and  the  “mouth  of  the  speaks  Spirit,  in the midst of Pentecostal eloquence,  tongues.  the  New  Testament.  as the  (Revelations  Father”  19:13),  throughout  Christ,  And  the  Holy  speaks in many  The word of God is usually referred to as the spoken  word, and the invitation to believers has always been to “listen to the word of God,” rather than to “read” issued by mouth, well:  “How sweet are thy words unto my taste!  sweet,  God’s word is  and its hearers often receive it by mouth as  than honey to my mouth!” word  it.  though,  (Psalm 119:103).  it provides  doth not live by bread only,  essential  Yea,  Not only  sweeter is God’s  nourishment:  “Man  but by every word that proceedeth  out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live”  (Deuternomy 8:3).  Here God’s spoken word is represented not only as a source of grace but as  the source of spiritual  life.  Furthermore,  the  invitation to be a follower of Christ was usually described as a  “vocation,”  a “calling” to which the faithful Christian was  expected to answer. In surveying the use of metaphors in his Tropologia or Key to Open Scripture Metaphors (1729), Benjamin Keach discusses the significant role of the voice in the Bible.  His catalogue of  Biblical metaphor demonstrates how visual imagery and auditory imagery Seeing  represent is  two  different  kinds  of  associated more with omniscience,  aligned more with understanding.  divine  knowledge.  while hearing  is  The book as a metaphor is used  54 by  Biblical  writers  to  knowledge” and judgment,  represent  a  record  of  God’s  “exact  such as Jerome’s mention of two Books  one for believers and one for unbelievers.r  of Judgment:  In  contrast, the mouth is used as the instrument of speech by which God’s will is understood (45).  The eyes of God are used to show  his precise foreknowledge of human nature, especially in knowing who will be damned and who will be saved: them  that  are  His”  2:2,  (Timothy  72).  “The Lord knoweth However,  God’s  ears  denote not only his knowledge of all earthly actions, but also, as  Keach  remarks,  that  “he  understands,  approves,  gracious response to the prayers of His people” sees,  (44).  When God  it  is to convey a  judgment  of  or  law.  final determination,  When  God  hears,  either  however,  usually to acknowledge the concern He has for people, when  gives  it is usually to acknowledge what He already knows; when  God writes, terms  and  speaks,  God  humankind.  it  is  to  convey  a  compassionate  “He knows the sins of men,  and enter into the ears of the Lord” In the Bible,  therefore,  it  in is  so that  regard  for  which are said to cry,  (James 5:4).  seeing is usually attributed to  God to emphasize His divine power of observation, while hearing is  used  to  call  attention  to  His  grace  responding to the needs of His people. the  kind  of  knowledge  “When the Ear heard,  and  the nature  benevolence  in  There is a difference in of  then it blessed me,  it gave witness to me”  and  the  response  given:  and when the Eye saw,  (Job 29:11, Keach 92).  This difference  in divine perception is similar to the Romantic contrast in the  55 human ability to reason and insight  (associated with seeing and the book)  (aligned with hearing and the voice).  Biblical and Romantic schemes,  In both the  the book is associated with an  external product, a divine decree; while the voice is associated with an interior process, Furthermore,  an exchange between God and humans.  in the Biblical tradition,  the images of book and  voice are used both to suggest and also to deny human free will: The book highlights God’s omniscience and the human submission to it, while the voice calls attention to God’s compassion and the  human  response  to  it.  The  human  voice,  accompanying association of inner knowledge,  with  its  is celebrated in  Romantic texts; both the book, with its link to divine judgment, and the voice,  with  its connection to divine compassion,  are  valued in the Biblical tradition. This investigation of the roles of the book and the voice in Calvinist practices and in Biblical tradition suggests that it was possible to resist Calvinist “book tenets,” such as the beliefs in manifest destiny and predestination, and yet continue to be swayed by some of its “voice tenets,” such as the beliefs in  saving  life.  grace  and  God’s  compassionate  call  to  a  spiritual  Since Calvinism valued the voice and also esteemed the  book, a continued influence of Calvinist principles could still be reconciled  in a culture that no longer had the same  relation  the  with  book.  Interpreted  in  this  way,  life—  both  the  decline of Calvinism and its persistence support the role of the voice as a predominant cultural symbol.  56 The Voice as Literary Symbol  Taken together,  the four major cultural  influences which  have been discussed here——democracy, mercantilism, Romanticism, and  Calvinism——were not only compatible with the voice as an  esteemed  cultural  symbol,  fostered its regard.  they  provided  for  its  status  Given the evolving American ethos during  the first half of the nineteenth century,  the voice was a most  fitting symbol of these dominant cultural impulses. insisted  on  and  hearing  the  mercantilism gave the  “voice  individual  of  common  the  a voice  Democracy person”;  in the marketplace;  Romanticism established the poet—prophet as a “voice crying in the wilderness,”  and Calvinism allowed for the sound of God’s  call and the amazing grace of the human response.  In all four  spheres of influence, the voice accrued symbolic import. Given genuine  that  the  prevailing  cultural  values  reflected  a  life—relationship with the voice, one would expect that  this relationship would generate corresponding literary imagery. We  have  already  observed how the  Romantic  writers  voice imagery to present their aesthetic principles, inevitable  that  this  imagery  would  operate  other literature from the period as well.  turned  to  and it is  significantly  in  The purpose of the  next three chapters is to support that contention with details from  the  four  characterizing thematic effect,  subject each  texts  literary  themselves.  text  in  terms  After of  its  first overall  I will establish how the metaphoric system of  each text supports a view of the voice as a predominant literary  57 symbol. Therefore, the next three chapters will demonstrate how the symbolic meaning of the voice as cultural symbol is echoed and enhanced by its symbolic meaning as literary symbol and how the voice as cultural  and  metaphorics of word. and  Walden,  to  show  literary symbol motivates In Chapter three, how  the  poet’s  its use  in a  I will discuss Nature  voice,  which  serves  to  translate the natural world, represents an understanding of the inner self in similar,  yet distinct,  ways in these two texts.  Chapter four takes up The Scarlet Letter, and how the voice of the  human  represents  heart, an  which  speaks  understanding  of  in human  the  “tongue  passion.  investigates Moby Dick and how the voices  of  flame”  Chapter  of negation,  five which  ultimately silence each other, represent an understanding of the human limits of understanding mortality.  In all four texts,  I  will show how the language process operates in a metaphorics of word to represent the epistemic process.  58 Chapter 2 Notes 1.  See Lawrence Buell, Literary Transcendentalism: Style and Vision in the American Renaissance, p.3, for a discussion of this time span.  2.  See FO. Matthiessen, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman for a discussion of these time parameters, p. vii. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  3.  See Harry Hayden Clark, ed., Transitions in American Literary History, p. ix. for a discussion of this quote. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  4.  See Michael Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969) and “The Order of Discourse” (1971) for a treatment of discourse as a practice, an action; Jacques Derrida’s “Signature Event Context” (1971, 1972) for a critique of the role of context; and Mikhail Bakhtin’s The Dialogic Imagination (1981) for a discussion of the “heteroglossia” of speech and texts. These philosophers present a representative sampling of the recent concern with the problematics of historicism.  5.  Jesse M. Gilirich, The Idea Language Theory, Mythology, citations are in the text. Foucault’s idea of cultural of Knowing, Chapter two.  6.  See Larzer Ziff, Literary Democracy: The Declaration of Cultural Independence in America, pp. xxi and xxiii. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  7.  See E.R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, p. 304, for a discussion of how a disparagement of writing and an esteem for speaking were “typically Greek.”  8.  Michael T. Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace, p.1. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  9.  Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America,  of the Book in the Middle Ages: and Fiction, p. 20. All subsequent Gilirich’s reference to Michael “episteme” is from The Archaeology  v.  II, p.  61.  10. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, vol. 2, Bk. XIV, All subsequent page citations are in the text. p. 12. 11. Tony Tanner, The Reign of Wonder: Naivety and Reality in American Literature, p. 57. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  59 An acknowledgement 12. William Wordsworth, The Prelude, p. 461. to Kathleen Lundeen (Western Washington University) for pointing out this passage.  13. Tony Tanner, Scenes of Nature, Signs of Men, p. subsequent page citations are in the text. 14. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, p.  All  55.  15. William H. Shurr, Rappaccini’s Children: a Calvinist World, p. 12. 16.  30.  Perry Miller, The New England Mind: p. 14.  American Writers in  The Seventeenth Century,  17. T. Walter Herbert, Jr., Moby-Dick and Calvinism: Dismantled, p. 113.  A World  18. See Miller, The New England Mind, pp. 367-369, for a discussion of the Arminian heresy. 19.  See Morse Peckham, Romanticism and Behavior, p.28, discussion of the poet as seer.  20. Morse Peckham, The Birth of Romanticism 1790-1815, 21.  for a  p.  Peckham, Birth 265.  22. Alan Simpson, Puritanism in Old and New England, pp. All subsequent page citations are in the text. 23.  66.  11-12.  See Shurr, Rappaccini’s Children, p. 19, for a discussion of this lingering Calvinistic influence in the literature.  24. John Calvin, p. 70.  Calvin:  Institutes of the Christian Religion,  25. Michael T. Gilmore, The Middle Way: Puritanism and Ideology in American Romantic Fiction, p. 40. 26. See Gilmore, The Middle Way, pp. 20-2, for a discussion of this confessional practice and p. 39, for a treatment of its use in the witchcraft trials.  27. Benjamin Keach, Tropologia or Key to Open Scripture Metaphors, All subsequent citations are in the text. p. 72.  60  CHAPTER 3 THE VOICE OF THE TRANSLATOR IN NATURE AND WALDEN  Common Concerns  Given the significance of the voice as a cultural symbol in nineteenth—century America, its prevalence as a literary symbol was  inevitable.  because  of  Because of these cultural reverberations and  common  themes  centering on  the  inner  person,  the  voice emerges as a controlling image in the metaphoric systems of the texts under consideration here. shift  from  the  book  to  the  voice  Specifically, as  primary  it is the  image  that  underwrites the metaphorics of word in all four texts in this study. literary  The resulting reliance on voice designs  of  Emerson  and  imagery  Thoreau  furthers the  where  the  central  concern is with the relationship among God, self, and Nature; it serves Hawthorne’s relationship accommodate  expanded scheme where the  between the  the  self  dimensions  of  and  others;  Melville’s  focus and  grand  is  it  on the  can  scheme  even where  attention turns to all peoples and their regard for mortality. I want to begin examining this progression by first tracing the Transcendental venture. Based on a tradition established by the British Romantics, American  Transcendentalists  translative project:  were  involved  in  a  common  To articulate the inner Spirit in terms of  the “language” of Nature, which could then be proclaimed in the  61 language of  convention.  That Emerson and Thoreau  share this  interpretive pursuit is evidenced by their explicit concern with the topic  of  language and  its potential  Turning to Nature as their inspiration,  to access knowledge.  they speak of language  as a vehicle for achieving transcendental knowledge.  However,  while their motives and modes are similar, the particular kinds of understanding that they pursue are distinct.  Emerson seeks  to understand the divine potential that he perceives residing in every individual person, with  individual’s  the  and Thoreau works at coming to terms  powerful  inner  self  competing with external social pressures.  that  perceives  he  Emerson characterizes  this inner self in more traditionally theocentric terms, while Thoreau human  describes  terms.  this  Both  interior  attempt  to  presence  in  articulate  more  personally  these  distinct  epistemic quests by employing similar metaphoric designs which draw on  the  symbols  of the book  and the voice.  Ultimately,  these metaphoric systems are marked by the inclination to turn to voice  imagery  in highlighting the  individual’s  search  for  transcendental truth. For Emerson and Thoreau,  whose writings were preoccupied  with the inner self and its active relationship to Nature,  the  voice  its  was  associations  a  particularly with  the  fitting  living,  within the Romantic tradition,  image  breathing  because  person.  their use of voice  As  of  writers  imagery  in  characterizing the relationship between the inner Spirit and the outer Spirit echoes  Coleridge’s portrayal of the relationship  62 between the imaginative energy within the person and that force within Nature. the  In the poem “Dejection,” Coleridge describes how  imaginative  issues  forth  force,  from the  external Nature:  which  originates  within  the  interior  self and  is heard  to  person, echo  in  “And from the soul itself thus must be sent  A sweet and powerful voice,  of  its own birth,  sounds the life and element!” 1  /  /  Of all sweet  Noteworthy in this description  is the way that the imaginative energy is represented as a voice that springs from the human soul and resounds in Nature. Coleridge, transfer Thoreau, of  the of  of  spiritual,  the  voice  works  imaginative  to  power;  highlight  for  this  Emerson  and  the voice also serves to emphasize this profound flow  spiritual  specific  image  For  energy  contention  between  the  is  as  that  inner  self  writers,  share Coleridge’s perception of poets as  and  Emerson  Nature. and  My  Thoreau  interpreters of self  via the language of Nature and often align this hermeneutic role with the act of listening. In the Romantic scheme, the poet is the one responsible for staying attuned  to this  self  in  and Nature  spiritual  exchange between the  the human pursuit  of  knowledge.  As  inner John  Shawcross explains in his Introduction to Biographia Literaria, the writer’s particular talents meant that he was most suited to the role of interpreting Nature: Both in virtue of his supreme self—knowledge and of his peculiar power of sympathy and intercoinmunion with nature, his is the mind best fitted to penetrate her hidden meaning, to understand her mute appeal, and to make it intelligible to others. . . . (lxxxii)  63 In the essay “On Poesy or Art,” Coleridge stipulates the credentials required for this interpretive act: He [the artist] must therefore absent himself for a season from her [nature], in order that his own spirit, which has the same ground with nature, may learn her unspoken language in its radicals, before he approaches to her endless composition of them. (qtd. in Shawcross lxxix) The Romantic portrayal of this interpretive process implies that the  poet  must  experience  the  internal  Spirit  understand the language of the external Spirit.  before  he  can  Striking is the  fact that until the inner self is grounded in the Spirit, Nature remains  mute.  In  this  way,  the  spiritual  force  originates  within the person and then resounds in the natural world.  The  shift from book to voice as primary image reflects this shift in the source of primary authority--from outside the individual to within  the  self.  The  visible  was  book  displaced  by  the  invisible voice when the locus of power moved from outside to within the person. This act of understanding the inner Spirit in terms of the outer natural world was regarded by the Romantics as an original creative act.  In reading the natural text,  these writers did  not regard themselves as merely observing natural wonders and in listening to the soul’s voice echo forth into the natural world, they did not consider themselves as only communing with nature; instead,  they  thought  themselves  to  be  involved  creative act by which the world came to be. perception could echo the divine act  in  the  same  The human act of  of creation.  Coleridge  sets forth this analogue in defining the Primary Imagination as  64 “the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, as  a  repetition  creation  in the  infinite I AN”  eternal  action of  and in defining the Secondary  in terms of the voice “as an echo of the former”  Imagination  emphasis  (202,  finite mind of the  in the  and  added).  Just  as  God  exercised  the  Primary  Imagination by creating the potential for human perception,  so  too does the individual poet exercise the Secondary Imagination by  perceiving  unity  in  discordance.  This  process  human  of  perception involves the same kind of unification as the original act  divine  of  recreation.  creation  It  is  in  and  thus  constitutes  representing  this  a  unifying  kind  of  kind  of  perception--this intuitive translation of the spirit--that voice imagery proves so useful to these writers. Because  the  Transcendentalists,  Romantics, in  in  particular,  general,  were  and  concerned  with  the the  individual’s role in gaining aesthetic, moral, and intellectual knowledge human  activity  intuition, for  a  they  way  of  looked  to  another  understanding  this  essentially epistemic  A likely cognitive source was the domain of language  process. itself.  via  Given an interest in the process of accessing knowledge  through intuition, it was reasonable that they would turn to the language processes for representing the intuitive process.  For  this reason, reading, considered a basically passive activity at this time,  required redefinition so that the  could be understood.  idea of  insight  The resulting definition of “reading” as  “seeing with the inner eye” provided a way of explaining how the  65 However,  person intuited the inner Spirit without sensory cues.  understanding how the person perceived this interior spiritual self  for a  called  an  accommodate  a  as  intuition  language process-—one  different  understanding spiritual  speaking/listening  of  the  process  of  from within.  The  useful  for  especially  was  could  process  uniuediated  flow originating  that  representing the way that the divine Spirit dwelled within the person,  issued forth from the inner self,  exterior Spirit of Nature.  and resonated in the  The Voice of God issued forth from  the human soul, a voice which could then be heard to echo in the Listening to this profound voicing was a way of  natural world.  understanding the spiritual exchange occurring in the intuitive process.  portraying  By  the  dynamics  transaction in terms of the voice, capacity of process.  the  as  this  intuitive  these texts acknowledge the  language process to represent this  By calling for an unmediated,  with the Spirit,  of  epistemic  intuitive relationship  these texts also negate the value of language  a medium of exchange.  The resulting rhetorical effect  is  that of a critique of language. I want to examine the details of how this voice operated  in a metaphorics of word to represent the observing  the  translative  efforts  in  imagery  intuitive  Nature  and  process  by  Walden.  Based on George Lakoff and Mark Turner’s provision for  2 I will show how the same a global reading of a literary text, two  structural  these texts.  metaphors  operate  as  controlling  concepts  in  Two basic metaphors provide a unifying principle:  66 RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING IS READING and INTUITIVE UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING.  Like Lakoff and Turner,  I am using “basic” here to  refer to those metaphors which are used so frequently that they become fundamental to a conceptual framework (5). basic  metaphorical  concepts,  INTUITIVE  Of these two  UNDERSTANDING  IS  LISTENING operates as the favored metaphor because it privileges the  voice  the  and  intuitive  of  way  introductory discussion of imagery,  knowing.  Recalling  my  I am considering the shift  from the book to the voice here in terms of literary symbolism, as well as the expression of this shift in terms of metaphorics to emphasize how the voice accrues literary symbolic meaning in addition  to  its  cultural  import  by virtue  of  its  privileged  metaphorical place in these texts. With their metaphoric systems,  both texts argue that the  writer’s role is to interpret Spirit as echoed in the natural world in an effort to gain transcendental knowledge of the inner self. items  Both texts demonstrate that in order to in  the  special way:  natural  world,  IV of Nature symbols  needs  to  be  used  in  a  transcendental truth requires concrete particulars  rather than abstract concepts.  the  language  interpret the  As Emerson explains in section  (“Language”), material items in the world provide for  understanding matters  of  the  Spirit.  Since  “every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact,” Nature as material fact provides a language for understanding spiritual facts.  And since every word which expresses a spiritual fact  originates  in  some  material  appearance,  this  correspondence  67 allows words to provide for an intuitive understanding of the Spirit  without  direct  sensory  3 mediation.  The  language  of  convention thus enables the material items of the natural world to  provide  the  language  of  the  Spirit  translate into transcendental truths. translators divine  of  life  Nature,  which  force.  is  While  which  these  writers  In this way, they act as  itself  a  they  highlight  translator  of  the  different  understandings about the inner self, these texts are engaged in this  same  interpretive project.  That the metaphoric  systems  could be so similar and yet offer distinct views is compatible with the unique process of each writer.  Thoreau even questions  the possibility of a single perspective: support  but  one  order  of  “As if Nature could  understandings”  (324).  Having  established their common concerns, I will examine how each text appropriates the voice as predominant symbol and then go on to analyze their metaphoric systems——but first an historical note. On ‘American Hieroglyphics’ The  discovery  of  the Rosetta  stone  in  1799  was  a world  event that prompted a keen interest in language and would have influenced the use of the reading metaphor because it was part of the nineteenth—century understanding of the reading process. John  Irwin  influence  is  that  helpful the  here  discovery  documenting  in and  the  decipherment  of  pervasive Egyptian  hieroglyphics was having during the time that these Americans were writing. all  four  This deciphering activity will help explain why  writers  in  this  study  use  linguistic  expressions  68 referring to hieroglyphics.  Beginning in the 1820’s,  scholars  such as Jean Francois Champollion were using the bilingual text of  the  Rosetta  demonstrating foreground  some  a  translation  stone  to  4 success.  particular of  decode  This  kind  mysterious  ancient  of  writings  phenomenon  reading:  hieroglyphic  the  writings  and  were  served  to  methodical expert  by  interpreters who were using other linguistic resources to assist their decoding. Therefore, the interpretive work in decoding these Egyptian writings paralleled, project  of  to some extent,  translating  the  text  the American interpretive of  Nature.  Especially  noteworthy in Irwin’s discussion is his acknowledgement that the ultimate mystery of hieroglyphs was traditionally attractive. That some codes can not be cracked and that some texts can never be read was an appealing 5 idea and was, with  the  Calvinist  Providence.  In  this  belief  in  the  tradition,  of course,  inscrutability  the texts  of  compatible of  Nature  Divine and the  Bible were regarded as hieroglyphs which needed translation, but which were assumed to be eternally elusive; tradition,  Irwin  quotes  Oegger’s  hieroglyph of the Divinity.” 6 lingering  appeal,  and any  view  Therefore,  efforts  of  and in this same man  as  the  “true  inscrutability had a  at decipherment would have  operated in tension with that appeal.  In other words, too much  interpretation could detract from the divine quality in these visible  symbols.  Any advances  in decoding the  Egyptian holy  writings would have diminished their sacred appeal and further  69  demeaned the book as symbol at the same time as it would have devalued the role of the interpreter--at least of visible texts. Therefore, writers like Emerson and Thoreau, who were operating as interpreters in the Romantic tradition, were under the stress of needing to maintain the sacred quality of certain mysteries at the same time as they were attempting to solve them. of  resolving  this  tension was  to portray  Nature  One way  as  having a  voice, thus providing a much more elusive text. Before  examining  Nature’s  metaphoric  system,  want  I  to  establish an overview of what Samuel Levin has called the text’s “metaphoric world” 7 and to get a sense of its larger  ‘order of  understanding’. Nature and the God Within  Unlike many of Emerson’s essays, which were first delivered as lectures, Nature was intended for a reading audience, yet it has an overall oral quality. of his works (emphasis  forecasts,  added),  prayer,  which  praise.  In  the  in Nature the  and the  ranges  Just as the title of another one  from  resulting a  petition  Introduction,  “Young  speech of  act  need  Emerson uses  plural and joins with the reader in asking,  Emerson Speaks” is to  the  a a  secular psalm  first  person  “Let us interrogate  the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. us inquire to what end is nature?”  (7).  of  Let  In the succeeding seven  sections, Emerson proceeds to answer this query with a litany of beliefs.  While  its  logical  development  and  discourse as a formal essay,  its devout,  dignified tone makes  length  mark  the  70 the  piece  Nature,  more  religious  creation,  God,  oratory.  The  sublime  subjects  of  and destiny deserve sublime treatment,  which they dutifully receive.  Emerson is confident in expli  cating man’s relationship to God and believes that “undoubtedly we have no questions  .  .  .  which are unanswerable”  (7).  His faith in intuition is strong, and his attitude earnest as he goes about reducing vast abstractions to simple truths: man and Nature are kindred spirits; Nature serves man with daily necessities,  beauty,  a symbolic language,  and a discipline of  the highest faculty; and it is the relationship between man and Nature that prompts truth.  In calling for “an original relation  to the universe” and “a Poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition” intuition  (7), Emerson insists on the unmediated process of  and  rejects  rational reasoning.  a  reliance  on  sensory  information  or  Since his contentions are often expressed  aphoristically, they emerge as dogmas and, taken together, they form the Emersonian creed.  From the initial warning that “Our  age is retrospective” to the summary judgment that “A man is a god in ruins,” there is a chanting effect obtained.  The form of  Emerson’s essay works like Nature itself:  It inspires  prayerful  poem,  like  reading.  In  and  both  it  gives  cases,  the  instruction overall  effect  a  is  like a  scriptural  that  of  the  spoken word. In  keeping  spiritual  themes.  with  its  devout  Although  it  is  voice,  the  essay  written mostly  in  proposes secular  language, Nature testifies to a “religion by revelation” and to  71 a belief in the “Me,” that part of human nature which shares in the divine--the God within  (7-8).  Although Emerson emphasizes  the potential that language has for accessing knowledge of this inner,  divine  interpreting  self  because  language  “particular natural  facts  particular spiritual facts”  (17),  completely  truth.  convey  spiritual  provides [which)  he admits In  a  way  of  are symbols of  its inadequacy to  his  Introduction,  he  points to the unreliability of human language and acknowledges its  mystery  thought sleep,  not  when  he  only  unexplained  madness,  placement  dreams,  first  Emerson’s view,  names  in  the  some  of  but  beasts,  the  phenomena  inexplicable; [and]  sequence  sex”  that  as  (8).  indicates  its  “are  language, Language’s  primacy  in  and the nature of the other items in this list  accentuates its enigmatic quality.  He characterizes language  as unreliable and not subject to human control. Furthermore, intuited  truth  words can not completely convey the kind of  that he  seeks  because  they  can  not  precisely  translate the inner Spirit which must be experienced directly, without finite  any mediating organs  dimensions  of  impoverish  it”  of  the  what  agent.  As  infinite  mind.  is  (28).  in  truth.  Therefore,  Emerson  admits,  They They he  cannot break,  faces  the  “Words  are  cover  the  chop,  and  dilemma  of  arguing that by interpreting the text of the natural world using the language of convention, the  God  within,  at  the  man has a gloss for understanding  same  time  that  he  acknowledges  the  ultimate inadequacy of language to perform this translation of  72 the Spirit. In creating a metaphoric system that revolves around two basic metaphors of word, of  how  to  reconcile  Emerson works to resolve this dilemma language’s  epistemic  merit  with  its  inadequacy.  My aim is to use the experiential—gestalt account  of metaphor,  as established by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson,  to demonstrate how his use of two coherent metaphors provides textual  systematicity.  The  structural  metaphor  RATIONAL  UNDERSTANDING IS READING argues for the rational interpretation of  the  natural  INTUITIVE  text,  and  UNDERSTANDING  IS  the  analagous  LISTENING  interpretation of the natural text. 8 draws  on  the  symbolic  authority  of  structural  argues  for  metaphor  an  intuited  While the reading metaphor the  book,  the  listening  metaphor taps into the symbolic authority of the voice and thus is privileged in Emerson’s scheme. In analyzing these two basic metaphors,  I  am relying on  Lakoff and Johnson’s provision for viewing metaphor as part of a conceptual  system and  language as a  this conceptual framework (3). convention  of  using  all  source of  evidence  for  I will continue to adopt their  capitals  to  indicate  conceptual  metaphors and of using quotation marks and block quotations for particular linguistic items drawn verbatim from the texts. now on, a  instead of including “emphasis added” each time I cite  linguistic  simply  From  form that  italicize  language imagery.  all  expresses  the  quoted  a metaphor expressions  of word, which  I  will  refer  to  Important to keep in mind is the premise that  73 conceptual metaphors emerge from experiencing a whole discourse and  not  merely  from  single  linguistic  units.  As  the  experiential theory proposes, the linguistic expressions simply provide a source of evidence for a whole cognitive system.  I am  employing  most  Lakoff  specific  and  Johnson’s  metaphorical  metaphors——to  practice  concept——in  characterize  Through subcategorization,  a  this  whole  I will  of  using  case  the  conceptual  the two  basic  system  (9).  investigate those metaphors  which are entailed by the basic metaphors, what Levin has termed “satellite  9 metaph ors”,  and  which,  when  constitute a coherent metaphorical system,  taken  together,  as provided for by  Lakoff and Johnson (9). Given  this  theoretical  foundation,  will  I  continue this  experiential analysis of the metaphorics of word in Nature by examining RATIONAL  the  reading  structural  UNDERSTANDING  IS  metaphor  READING,  what  more we  closely.  know  In  about  the  process of reading structures how we think about the process of logical reasoning.  This metaphor allows Emerson to describe how  we can understand the natural world, the past, and human nature in terms of how we read.  Therefore, RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING IS  READING entails that NATURE, HISTORY, and HUMAN LIVES ARE BOOKS, which  entails  that  THE WRITER  IS A READER.  Together,  these  metaphors highlight the acquisition of knowledge through sensory information and logical reasoning. Let us  consider RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING  operates as a structural metaphor,  IS READING  as  it  allowing us to think of one  74 experience  in  terms  UNDERSTANDING  IS  of  another. allows  READING  Therefore, to  us  conceptualize  reasoning process in terms of the reading process, conception  of  reading.  Noteworthy  reasoning  orality/literacy between  is  is  the  theorists  abstract  grounded  have  reasoning  in  fact  and  our  that  this  10 literacy.  what  understanding  thinking  (38).  is  gained  (reasoning) about  the  so that our  experience  of  connection  Adopting  and Turner,  trace how certain aspects of the source domain mapped onto the target domain  the  twentieth-century  confirmed  experiential vocabulary as used by Lakoff  RATIONAL  the  I will  (reading)  are  in order to discern nature  of  rational  Such a mapping assumes certain knowledge about  the source domain,  so I will begin with a discussion of this  presupposed knowledge by examining the mental framework of the reading process and some aspects of that conceptual domain. To understand reasoning as a reading process is to keep in mind certain basic correspondences:  between a thinker  and a  reader, between the truth and the text, and between the mind and the  eyes.  As  correspondences unconscious,  at  Lakoff may  least  be  and  Turner  conscious  remark, but  for the receiver  are  such  mental  more  likely  of the metaphor  (62).  However, as I note in my first chapter, coleridge suggests that these correspondences more likely are conscious for the user of the  metaphor.  Either way,  the metaphor  relies  on  them,  and  understanding the metaphor relies on understanding the structure of the source domain.  At first glance,  reading seems like a  75 simple enough domain.  Important to emphasize here, however,  is  that the nineteenth—century understanding of the reading process was much different from ours. before  we  understood  that  Before reader—response theory and  reading  transactive  process,  reading was perceived as a matter of mere decoding.  Certain  information existed in the text, reader’s task to find it.  is  a  on the page,  and  it was the  Reading was understood as a strict  linear process where the eyes moved from left to right, and all information was received in that order. modern understanding,  In contrast with our  reading was perceived as a tidy,  linear  process by which a reader obtained meaning from the language of the printed text, view,  readers  but did not bring meaning to  were  contained in books.”  considered  passive  it.  recipients  In this  of  meaning  It is this nineteenth—century perception  of reading that was operant in the texts under study here. With  this  scheme  in  mind,  let  us  consider  RATIONAL  UNDERSTANDING IS READING as it is reflected in Nature and how it implies a criticism of the prevailing cognitive model. of this metaphor describes goes,”  a  is signaled right away  process  by  which  “The  eye  The role  in the epigram which reads  thus eliciting the reading domain.  omens  Then  where  it  in the very  first line of the Introduction, Emerson establishes the premise of  his  essay  by  appropriating the  aspect  of  the  reader in the expression “Our age is retrospective” works  metonymically.  Here  the  metonymy provides  thinker-as (7), which for  a  time  period to represent a whole nation of readers who take as their  76 text the past and who read backwards.  Emerson’s use of this  metonymy suggests a critique of the prevailing reading process. Since  current  the  reading  process  provided  for  moving  sequentially, forwards not backwards, Emerson is criticizing the thinkers of his age for improper reading by looking to the past. Evident is the satellite ontological metaphor HISTORY IS A BOOK, which is coherent with UNDERSTANDING IS READING.  In this way,  Emerson begins his essay with an indictment of his “readers” for looking to  history as  a  source  of truth  and  suggests  that  a  better text exists, setting the stage for his reading of Nature as that text. NATURE IS A WRITING/BOOK is reflected in many expressions: Every man’s condition is a solution in hieroglyphic (7) We mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects (9) Forms [in nature) . . . furnish man with the dictionary and grammar of his municipal speech A life in harmony with nature . eyes to understand her text (23)  .  .  (21)  will purge the  so that the world shall be to us an open book  (23)  Therefore the soul holds itself of f from a too trivial and microscopic study of the universal tablet (36) The ruin or the blank, that we see when we look at (43) nature, is in our own eye. Interesting  here  is  the  fact  that  except  expression which refers to human nature,  for  the  all the other  first items  represent the truth of the natural world as an understandable text——”an open book”——to the careful reader.  In contrast,  the  77 first expression, which refers to the truth about human nature, is  represented  metaphor  as  entails  undecipherable——a unreadability  “hieroglyphic.”  and,  thus,  This  suggests  that  understanding human nature calls for some other process besides the rational/reading one. Useful here in discerning what that superior process might be is a consideration of the mind—as—eyes correspondence which is evident in Emerson’s expression “The eye reads omens where it goes” the  This synecdochic relationship between the eye and  (7).  highlights  reader  that  the  eyes  the  represent  idea  of  part-for-whole,  only  part  of  the  suggesting  whole  reader’s  faculties and, therefore, that the mind represents only part of the  human’s  capacity  for  understanding.  Given the  tone  and  theme of Emerson’s work,  the use of synecdoche reinforces the  inadequacy  which  potential  of  a  process  in seeking truth.  uses  only  part  of  In highlighting this  a  person’s  inadequacy,  the metaphor forecasts the need for some kind of process that will involve more than just reasoning. Emerson  uses  eye  imagery  again  to  point  to  a  unifying process when he describes the poet as one can integrate all the parts” (9).  superior, “whose eye  The reading metaphor works to  create a contrast between the masses who use their eyes merely to  observe  discordances interpreter,  the  past,  and  the  simultaneously.  poet The  who  sees  poet,  in  and his  reconciles role  as  is represented as the most skillful reader because  of the unusual way his eyes work.  This characterization of the  78 writer as adept reader is also evident in the expression “as the eye is the best composer” distinguishes  between  With this expression,  (12).  the  ineffective  way  the  reads and the successful literacy of the poet. persons can see nature” natural  undermines  because  person  Since “few adult  it is up to the poet to read the  (9), and  common  ultimately  to  decipher  the  human  By undermining the definition of “reading,” Emerson  hieroglyph. also  correctly  text  Emerson  stability  the  Emersonian  the  kind  UNDERSTANDING  of  of  reading  calls  IS  for  READING something  besides the traditional understanding of sequential reading and intimates  an  epistemic  need  for  something  besides  logical  reasoning. In addition to extending the meaning of UNDERSTANDING IS Emerson  READING,  also  uses  a  second  accommodate his conceptual scheme: where  understanding  is  structural  metaphor  to  UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING,  intuitive.  Drawing  on  the  symbolic  import of the voice, this metaphor provides for a perception of intuition as an oral exchange and establishes correspondences between a thinker and a listener, between truth and speech, and between  mind  the  metaphor,  this  complicated  and  mapping.  written  invisible  exchange  in  difference  a  ears.  listening  visible,  result  the  the  the  text.  listening  the  This  satellite  to  provides  reading  between speaker and  visible  between  contrast  metaphor  While  text,  In  the for  process process  listener  contrast  is  ontological  reading more  a  entails  a  entails  an  and does  not  evident  in  metaphors  the that  79 in the other,  NATURE IS A BOOK;  NATURE IS A  result:  In one,  SPEAKER.  As Lakoff and Johnson point out, personifications like  this one are extended ontological metaphors, and they enable us to understand the world in human terms  As a result, the  (34).  listening metaphor highlights the human being in a way that the reading  metaphor  does  not,  and  NATURE  IS  SPEAKER  A  calls  attention to the human capacity to use language. A  survey  the  of  expressions  that  chooses  Emerson  to  reflect the listening metaphor will help to point up additional differences between the two controlling metaphors. eliciting  the  reading metaphor  in  the  Along with Emerson  epigram,  also  evokes the listening metaphor so that “The eye reads omens where it goes, in  the  /  form  speaker. inquiry  And speaks all languages the rose” (7).  And to  around us” to  some  the  in  “the (7),  rose,  is  personified  the  Introduction,  great  apparition  shines  omnilingual  an  Emerson  when that  as  directs  so  his  peacefully  Emerson implies that his question is addressed  “great,”  traditional light.  of  Here Nature,  divine force  Biblical  in Nature,  associations  between  as  indicated by the  God  and  a  shining  The result is that God is represented as a voice that  speaks through Nature. Furthermore,  Emerson’s  expressions provide much  evidence  that this process involves a conversation between God and man, via Nature: His [the human’s] intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food (1.9)  80 Thus is nature an interpreter, by whose means man converses with his fellow men (IV.20)  She [Nature) pardons no mistakes. and her nay is nay (V.24) every animal function Commandments (V.26) It  [the Spirit) says  .  .  .  .  Her yea is yea,  shall  .  .  .  .  echo the Ten  (V.28)  .  It [Nature] is the great organ through which the universal spirit speaks to the individual. (VII.37) These expressions reflect a cognitive model in which the human being comes to understand spiritual truths through an exchange with the divine force embodied in nature. external  world  speaks  to  the  through the mouth of Nature.  Spirit Thus,  poet as a translator of Nature,  The Spirit in the the  in  internal  Emerson provides  world  for the  which is a translator of the  Spirit. This three—way exchange is represented not only as speech, but also as song in expressions such as these: the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both (1.10) a life in harmony with nature eyes (IV.23)  .  .  .  will purge the  The law of harmonic sounds reappears in the harmonic colors (V.27) Some traditions of man and nature, which a certain poet sang to me (VIII.41) Thus my Orphic poet sang (VIII.42) So shall the advancing spirit . . . carry with it the beauty of its visits, and the song which enchants it. (VIII. 45) The  structure  of  the  listening  metaphor  UNDERSTANDING  IS  81 LISTENING highlights the dynamics of an exchange and thus shifts the  emphasis  discovering  from  the  truth.  source  of  Furthermore,  truth because  to  process  the  Emerson’s  of  listening  expressions do not call attention to the ears in the way that the analagous reading expressions focus on the eyes,  attention  is called not to the auditory apparatus, but rather to the whole process of perception. understanding  The implication here is that the kind of  entailed by UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING involves  the whole person, not just the ears/mind.  For this reason, the  listening metaphor works to structure a way of understanding the intuitive  process  by  which  truth  is  apprehended  directly,  without any mediating apparatus. While order  UNDERSTANDING  that  results  IS  from  READING highlights viewing  the  the  world  sense  of  rationally,  UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING accentuates the sense of harmony that comes  from attending to the world intuitively.  Specifically,  the reading metaphor portrays truth as a bounded entity that can be  scanned  and  interpreted,  and  the  listening  metaphor  represents truth as a dynamic exchange between God, Nature, and man where truth “does not reside” in any one of them, but rather emerges relies  from on the  the  translative  integrity of  process.  The  reading  the written record;  the  metaphor listening  metaphor relies on the authority of the inner Spirit of the poet to translate, not a finished record, but an evolving text. Emerson  extends  the  listening  metaphor  associations of lyricism and harmony,  to  music,  with  That its  suggests his preference  82 for this intuitive model of understanding.  While the coherency  of the two metaphors affirms that both kinds of understanding are compatible and useful in coming to terms with the world, the listening  metaphor  is  more  keeping  in  with  the  tenets  of  Romanticism as it applies to the Transcendental epistemic view. In Emerson’s metaphoric scheme, listening affords better access to the God within because it highlights intuitive insight. Emerson’s elevation of the spoken word via the metaphor  is  compatible  with  his  general  listening  denigration  of  the  expresses  his  disdain for the worship of books as a kind of corruption.  In  written  word.  In  “The  American  Scholar,”  he  advocating “Man Thinking,” Emerson questions a reliance on books and scorns “man reading” as the “bookworm. 2 ”  He elevates the  spoken word by associating the speaking poet with God:  “The  poet chanting was felt to be a divine and; henceforth the chant is  divine  reason  is  3 also.”  In  replaced  epistemic authority,  Emerson’s  by the  voice  scheme, of  since  intuition  as  the the  book  of  primary  reading is displaced by listening as the  primary metaphor. However, not even the listening metaphor can compensate for the inadequacy of language to completely represent the process of  understanding  fragility  of  “forges the words  and  the  spiritual  truth.  translative  process  subtile and delicate air gives  Translation of  them  wing  the divine  as  life  angels force  Emerson in  points  describing  to  the  how  man  into wise and melodious of is an  persuasion”  (293).  interpretive move  83 which results in some new form, and words provide that alternate form.  Words can point to the discovery of spiritual truth, but  they do not constitute that truth.  Walden and the ‘Private Au’ Like looks  Emerson,  to  the  symbols to  Thoreau  concrete  assumes  the  particulars  of  translate the inner spirit.  interpretive the  natural  role  and  world  for  Like Emerson, he values  the language of convention for the way that it corresponds to the  language  of  Nature.  And  like  Emerson,  he  portrays  hermeneutic role in terms of the listening process.  his  However,  the epistemic theme is realized differently by Thoreau because while Emerson highlights the divine potential for moral insight in  man,  Thoreau  liberation.  emphasizes  the  human  capacity  for  self—  Troubled by the “lives of quiet desperation” that  he witnesses around him, he addresses the “mass of men who are discontented” 4 fetters. ”  and who “have forged their own golden or silver  It is these self—imposed restrictions that he urges  his readers to cast aside in coming to terms with the powerful inner Spirit because “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with  our  own  private  opinion”  (7).  Using  his  own  act  of  liberation at Walden Pond as an exemplum, he outlines a process of self—emancipation, but insists that each person must find his own way. Author of his own spiritual declaration of Thoreau  believes  that what  is  at the heart  of  independence, his  country’s  84 anguish  is the  individual’s pain:  “that what so saddens the  reformer is not his sympathy with his fellows in distress, but though he be the holiest son of God,  is his private au”  (78).  In Thoreau’s view, this private anguish can be assuaged only by attending to the self as the source of authority. “I hear an  When he says,  irresistible voice which invites me away from all  that” (10-11), he suggests that his source of spiritual power is an  internal  voice,  rather  than  the  external  voices  of  his  neighbors. He characterizes his Transcendental role as a searcher of self  in terms  listening.  of  Many of his days,  he says,  were  spent “trying to hear what was in the wind, to hear and carry it express!”  (17).  He provides an analogue for this interpretive  role of the listening poet when he describes hearing the sound of church bells reverberating through the woods.  He notes that  “at a sufficient distance over the woods this sound acquires a certain vibratory hum” which came to him as “a melody which the air had strained, needle  of  the  and which had conversed with every leaf and  wood”  (123).  Just  as  the  sound  of  the  bells  issues forth from the Church and resounds in harmony with the natural  world,  so  too  does  the  power  of  the  person  emanate  outward to mingle with Nature--a melody which can be heard by those receptive to its  ‘vibratory hum’.  Thoreau affirms the  creative nature of this interpretive role when he describes how the sound heard in the natural world is somehow original with the listener:  “The echo is, to some extent, an original sound,  85 and therein is the magic and charm of it.  It is not merely a  repetition of what was worth repeating in the bell, the voice of the wood” throughout  the  (123).  natural  world  but partly  Being able to hear these echoes so  clearly  that  “they  were  at  length one articulation of Nature” is Thoreau’s special creative faculty.  Magically as it were, hearing the sound as one unified  melody constitutes a creative act in itself and the main work of the intuitive poet. Throughout,  Walden  provides  for  an  elevation  of  the  personal spoken word and a diminishment of the public written word.  While he professes  comments entire  continually  chapter  to  an admiration for  undermine “Reading,”  that and  criticizing the common method of  esteem. spends  books, He  Thoreau’s devotes  considerable  “easy reading.”  an  time  Instead of  reading the best literature, most people content themselves with light reading-—a habit which Thoreau discounts as just another form of illiteracy. great  works  written  of  word  Despite Thoreau’s campaign for reading the  literature,  the  choicest  nearest to life itself” or no time reading.  however, of  (118),  and  relics”  though  and  “the  he  calls  work  of  “a art  he admits that he spends little  In the days after moving into Walden,  he  notes that he “read but little” and the scraps of paper which he found on the ground “answered the same purpose as the (45).  Iliad”  curiously, he condemns others for easy reading but counts  these scraps of paper as having the same effect as the classic Greek poem,  and that effect, he says,  is “entertainment.”  In  86 this  way,  reading  is  portrayed  only  as  an  entertaining  diversion. In contrast, Pond,  throughout the account of his days on Walden  he attends to the sounds of his world and implies that  listening  is  main occupation.  his  When  listens  he  from his  window seat to the sound of birds which “gives a voice to the air”  (114),  he  affirms  his  talent  for  hearing  the  “one  articulation of Nature.”  Not only does he listen attentively to  the  also  voice  Nature,  of  he  records  alertness  his  to human  nature and often tells of his conversations with others. example,  his  frequent  illustrate how books about them.  visits  with  a  are not nearly as  Canadian  For  wood-chopper  important as the talk  Even though the woodsman does not even read the  books he professes to admire, Thoreau enjoys their talks about literature woodsman  and  at  times  (144—145).  he  even  Elsewhere,  reads  he  Homer  expresses  aloud his  the  to  delight  in  talking with nearby farmers to each of whom he “took his word for his deed, high  regard  complaint restricts  for I dearly love to talk,” he admits for  about the  conversation  is  revealed  the  of  a  space  problem for  small  (81).  humorously house  conversations with his  correspondence which  visitors,  news  (94),  all  it for  (140).  is usually not worth  postage and unlike the newspaper which delivers  his  in  because  “when we began to utter the big thoughts in big words” Unlike written  His  the  its same  talking is important to Thoreau.  These recurring references to the value of conversations  87 are not merely incidental to Walden; they constitute one of its fundamental themes.  In his role as interpreter, Thoreau seeks  to articulate his personal sojourn into the self by listening to the  living  sounds  inner person  around him.  from self—tyranny,  In his  search  Thoreau wants  to release a  the  guiding text  that can “not only be read but actually breathed from all human (102).  lips”  This  insistence  vocalizing  on  the  living,  breathing spirit is one way to express the liberation process. Therefore,  despite his stated regard for the written word, his  effort to soothe the private au  necessarily leads him to the  living spoken word and to the voice as a controlling symbol. Given  this  overview  of  the  text,  I  want  to  examine how  UNDERSTANDING IS READING works in Walden to structure the role of rational thinking in Thoreau’s project of Because  this  imposition  of  emancipation external  process  authority,  self-liberation.  requires reading  rejecting imagery  the  becomes  associated with attending to some influence outside of the self. Thoreau urges his readers to transcend the role of mere observer by  using  insight,  and  traditional reasoning: or a seer?”  (ill).  his  challenge  implies  a  rejection  of  “Will you be a reader, a student merely,  With this expression Thoreau indicates his  concern with intuition and evokes the reading metaphor and, like Emerson,  calls for some process besides ordinary reading,  some  kind of interior reading. Alluding to the decoding of Egyptian writings, questions whether anyone,  expert or not,  Thoreau  can interpret someone  88 else’s inner Spirit:  leaf.  “The Maker of this earth but patented a  What Champollion will decipher this hieroglyphic for us,  that we may turn over a new leaf at last?” the  reading  process  correspondences decoders, between  onto  emerge  between turning  a  a  the  domain  between  and  of  Champollion  hieroglyphic  page  (308).  and  making  a  a  self—knowledge, and  sense  life  In mapping  Thoreau  of  self,  change.  as and  Echoing  Emerson’s description of “Every man’s condition” as “a solution in  hieroglyphic,”  Thoreau  characterizes  ultimately undecipherable.  However,  the  human  puzzle  as  while Emerson emphasizes  the inability to access satisfactorily the divine aspect of man, Thoreau highlights the challenge of discerning personal destiny. By questioning the authority of any outside interpreter, Thoreau reinforces his contention that we are our own best experts and that no external authority can do the deciphering for us. In demean  this the  same  passage,  rational  view  Thoreau even  further  ontological metaphor NATURE IS A BOOK:  fragment of dead history, of  a  book  .  .  .  but  uses  writing by  imagery  displacing  to the  “The earth is not a mere  stratum upon stratum like the leaves  living  poetry”  natural world a “living” text,  (309).  In  calling  the  he evokes a listening metaphor,  saying that the word may “not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips”  (102).  In this scheme,  LISTENING and NATURE IS A VOICE.  Curiously,  UNDERSTANDING IS  it is in a passage  ostensibly praising the written word as the “choicest of relics” that he implies a privileging of speech because he argues that  89 the value of the written word is that it is “carved out of the breath of life itself”  Echoing Calvin’s praise of the  (102).  Bible in terms of God’s voice, Thoreau implies that the written word is to be treasured because it represents the living, human voice.  Once  again,  Thoreau’s  professed  regard  books  for  is  undermined by imagery which points to the primacy of the spoken word. The  alignment  acquiring  sense  a  Chapter  Two,  lyrical  sounds  between of  when of  self  Thoreau morning.  listening is  revealed  describes In  this  and in  the a  being  process  striking awakened  analogue,  the  way by  of in the  listening  metaphor serves to portray the liberation of the sleeping self. This  renewal  pointing to  process the  is  spiritual  termed  a  “religious  exercise”——thus  awakening that transpires,  and the  voice imagery highlights the intuitive process at work: I was as much affected by the faint hum of a mosquito making its invisible and unimaginable tour through my apartment at earliest dawn, when I was sitting with door and widows open, as I could be by any trumpet that ever sang of fame. It was Homer’s requiem; itself an Iliac! and Odyssey in the air, singing its own wrath and wanderings. There was something cosmical about it. . . . The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. . . . Little is to be expected of that day to which we are not awakened by our Genius , are not awakened by our own newly—acquired force and aspirations from within, accompanied by the undulations of celestial music. . . . All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora and emit their music at sunrise. (89) In this passage, listening  to  surrounding  self—awareness  the  cosmic  voice music.  from The  is portrayed as within  in  listening  the  a process of midst  metaphor  of works  the to  90 represent how harmonizes  spiritual truth  with a  similar  issues  force  from the  in the  self and  inner  natural world.  Like  Emerson, Thoreau uses musical expressions to reflect the kind of “life in harmony with nature” that results from attending to the inner Spirit as voiced This  same  kind  in the exterior world  of  harmony  recurs  in  (23). a  passage  in  the  chapter “Higher Laws” when Thoreau recalls the incident of John Farmer.  Farmer, who sits down in the doorway of his house “to  recreate his  intellectual man,”  is described as  fabricated embodiment of intuition,  if he were a  an Everyman engaged in the  process of discerning his place in the world by listening to the music  outer  of  the  material  world  and  the  inner  voice  of  revealed truth: He had not attended to the train of his thoughts long when he heard someone playing on a flute, and that sound harmonized with his mood. . . . But the notes of the flute came home to his ears out of a different sphere from that he worked in, and suggested work for certain faculties which slumbered in him. . . . A voice said to him,--Why do you stay here and live this mean moiling life, when a glorious existence is possible for you? (222) Once again, the listening metaphor is appropriated to express the highest  form of understanding which results  from careful  attention to the inner and outer voices. To the careful listener, Nature speaks in harmonious tones. The harmony, however, does not reside in natural sounds; rather it results from a perceptive listening. can read with an integrative eye, with a  unifying ear.  Just as  Like Emerson’s poet who  Thoreau’s Farmer can listen  listening to the  sound of the  91 bells in the woods resulted in an echo that was “original,” so too  does  each  person’s  individual  perception  influences prompt an original inward response.  outside  of  And it is this  unique echo that Thoreau insists upon when he says that “If a man  does  not  keep  pace  his  with  companions,  because he hears a different drummer.  perhaps  it  is  Let him step to the music  which he hears, however measured or far away”  (326).  Thoreau’s privileging of the listening metaphor is evident in the  ongoing attention he pays  chapter  devoted to  “Sounds,”  he  to natural begins  with  sounds. a  In the  caution  about  attending only to the book of Nature and a challenge to remember her voice:  “But while we are confined to books, though the most  select and classic,  language 111).  which  all  .  .  .  things  we are in danger of forgetting the and  events  In continually evoking the  reminds  us  of  certain  speak”  listening process,  correspondences:  interpreter and the listener,  (emphasis  between  mine,  Thoreau  the  poet—  between truth and the voice,  and  between the ears and the mind. The  frequent expressions involving the voices of natural  creatures remind us to heed these sounds as echoes of spiritual truth: such a sound [hooting owl’s] as the frozen earth would yield if struck with a suitable plectrum, the very lingua vernacula of Walden Wood (272) he [a squirrel] would be soliloquizing and talking to all the universe (274) He [the hunter] stood still and listened to their [the hounds’] music, so sweet to a hunter’s ear. (278)  92 Since  Thoreau  everyday  spends  utterances  more than  time he  listening  does  to  reading  these  books,  ordinary, the  voice  emerges as the valued symbol both in the wooded world of Walden and in the metaphorical world of Walden.  Thoreau’s translative  process calls for attending to the voice of Nature because the process of listening is so closely associated with the intuitive process.  And it is the listening process, not the ears or the  listener, that is highlighted in Thoreau’s choice of words. Thoreau’s autobiographical account constitutes a model of self—emancipation, by which a person can translate natural facts into spiritual facts, as a way of coming to terms with the inner self and of understanding the individual’s place in relationship the  to  world.  UNDERSTANDING  reasoned view of  IS  these external  READING  entails  a  logical,  forces and while such a view  does provide information, it is epistemologically dissatisfying because the world Therefore,  this  is not like a book but  perspective  is  “living poetry.”  is displaced by UNDERSTANDING  IS  LISTENING which provides a mental framework for tapping into the intuitive process by which the vitality of natural forces can be attended to.  The very difference between the physical nature of  eyes and that of ears highlights a contrast between these two processes.  Because the ears are actual openings,  they seem to  provide more of a direct entry into the interior self. way, of  In this  listening more accurately represents the intuitive process  unmediated  perception.  Furthermore,  listening,  with  its  associations to obedience, more closely aligns itself with the  93 human’s need to stay true to the self:  “to maintain himself in  whatever attitude he finds himself through obedience to the laws of his being”  (323).  Intuition,  as represented by listening,  prompts such an ‘attitude’. Overall, Thoreau’s metaphoric system gives priority to the voice as symbol and to listening as controlling metaphor.  He  states a philosophical rationale for his linguistic choices when he discusses his need for “Extra vagrance.”  Because he worries  that his expression “may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limits” of his personal experience, he desires to speak “without bounds,” to be “extra vagrant.”  He indicates that a writer’s  manner of expression should reflect the elusive nature of truth: “The volatile truth of our words should continually betray the inadequacy of the residual statement”  (325).  For this reason,  the bounded book is too confining an image to convey Thoreau’s liberation allows  for  project. the  Instead,  necessary  the  extra  visible boundaries and, thus,  voice  vagrance  is  more  fitting;  because  it  has  it no  it contributes to a more accurate  representation of the dynamic process of spiritual emancipation. Self—liberation,  in  Thoreau’s  portrayal,  requires  speaking  imagery because it leaves no trace——no ‘residual statement’——and thus must be re—enacted by each sojourning soul.’ 5 Translation and the Dilemma of Expressed Language An analysis revealed  how  the  of the metaphorics of Nature and Walden has two  structural  metaphors  of  reading  and  listening operate to represent the translative process, by which  94 we  come  to  attending  understand  to  its  the  nature  expression  of  the  the  in  interior  exterior  world.  hermeneutic task involves two kinds of thinking: intuiting. IS  and  UNDERSTANDING metaphors,  IS  the  for  the  LISTENING.  process  the  intuitive  of  process  As  using of  process a  main  process,  value  of  language  is  This  reasoning and  of  serves  understanding  is  presented  function  language  highlighting the discovery process. the  by  The rational process is understood via UNDERSTANDING  READING,  domain  Spirit  the  these as  via two  source  a  self,  thus  For Emerson and Thoreau,  in  terms  a role which Emerson describes  language is vehicular and transitive,  of  in  this  epistemic  “The Poet”:  and is good,  “All  as ferries  and horses are, for conveyance, not as farms and houses are, for 6 homestead.”  Emerson repeats this emphasis on process when he  says of Nature (in the section titled “Commodity”): its ministry to man,  “Nature, in  is not only the material,  but is also the  process and the result” (111, emphasis added).  Because of the  established correspondence between the language of Nature and the  language  of  convention,  this  applies to both symbol systems.  same  emphasis  on  process  Therefore, the process of using  language is appropriate for representing the ongoing process of articulating  the  human  Spirit.  The  final  effect  of  this  metaphorical system is to portray truth as inaccessible, as well as  to  represent  language  as  epistemic.  Both  knowledge  and  language are forever on the move. One feature of this metaphorics of word that has not been  95 accounted  for  is  the  Romantic portrayal  of  role  of  metacognition.  Since  the translative process,  the  in  the  Spirit  is  evident in the outward world only if it is first realized within the  self,  how  is  this  original  knowing itself to be represented? from the individual soul,  self-awareness  of  the  Soul  Once the Spirit is sent forth  it has an audible quality--an echo.  How can the self-realization of the Spirit be represented before it issues forth? word  portray  In Emersonian terms, how does a metaphorics of  the  recognition  Thoreavian terms,  of  the  “Me”  by  the  “Me”?  In  how does a metaphorics of word represent the  Soul listening to itself singing?  Since the listening metaphor  entails that sounds need to be audible in order to be heard, this mental scheme is strained to provide for any representation of self—conscious self—knowledge.  A resolution to this dilemma  lies in the references to “mute” Nature.  It is not the voice in  Nature that is silent, but rather the understanding of the poet that  is  devoted  inexpressible and hence to  metaphor,  discussing  which  I  am  how  silent.  this  terming  Chapter six will be  satellite  “expressed  of  the  silence”  listening and  which  operates in all four texts, provides for representing this self— awareness.  But first, I want to move on to how Hawthorne’s text  appropriates the same two structural metaphors in his literary project,  as he  shifts the thematic focus to the relationship  between the self and others.  96 Chapter 3 Notes 1.  Quoted by John Shawcross in his Introduction to Biographia Literaria, p. xxxviii. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  2.  George Lakoff and Mark Turner, More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor, p. 146. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  3.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, v.1, p. 18. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  4.  See John Irwin, American Hieroglyphics: The Symbol of the Egyptian Hieroglyphic in the American Renaissance, pp. 9-13, for a summary of this activity.  5.  Irwin, American Hieroglyphics 9.  6.  Irwin, American Hieroglyphics 25.  7.  See Samuel Levin, Metaphoric Worlds: Conceptions of a Romantic Nature, pp. ix—x, for a discussion of this term “metaphoric world.”  8.  See my Chapter 1, pp 19-21, for a discussion of how these two basic metaphors of word emerge as text—specific versions of the root metaphor UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING.  9.  Levin, Metaphoric Worlds 5.  10.  See Erik Havelock, Origins of Western Literacy, for a discussion of how the Greek alphabet restructured Greek thinking. See Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, for a comprehensive treatment of how literacy is aligned with analytical, abstract thinking and how orality is connected with aggregate, concrete thinking.  11. See Frank Smith’s Understanding Reading and Reading Without Nonsense for discussions of the twentieth—century transactive model of the reading process. 12. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, v.1, p. 56. 13. Emerson, “The American Scholar,” Ralph Waldo Emerson 56.  The Collected Works of  97 14. Henry David Thoreau, The Illustrated Walden, p. subsequent page citations are in the text.  16.  All  15.  It is striking how Thoreau’s discussion of “extra vagrance” forecasts William Covino’s description of rhetoric as “the art of wondering.” An acknowledgement to Judy Segal (University of British Columbia) for mentioning this connection. See The Art of Wondering: A Revisionist Return to the History of Rhetoric, p. 128, for a definition of rhetoric “as a theory of discourse that devalues certainty and closure while it celebrates the generative power of the imagination.”  16.  Emerson, “The Poet” in The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, v. III, p. 20.  98  CHAPTER 4 ‘THE TONGUE OF FLAME’ IN THE SCARLET LETTER A Human Rubric While the literary voices of Emerson and Thoreau serve as translators of sympathy  lies  the more  Spirit via the natural world, with  human  nature.  As  he  Hawthorne’s  notes  in  his  introductory chapter of The Scarlet Letter, during the time when he wrote the novel, he felt an indifference for worldly things-for books and even “Nature,-—except it were human nature.” 1 its conspicuous placement in the title suggests,  As  the image of  the scarlet letter serves as the controlling symbol of his work and signals a concern with both language and people.  Relying on  the original meaning of “text,” he uses the “woven” the  letter to  fabric of  interlace both linguistic and human forms:  the  embroidered “A” in the cloth that Hester wore and the embodied one  in the child that she bore.  aesthetic  and  (originally,  epistemic “rubrica”  and,, as for  decoration and emphasis)  Since his concerns are both the  “red  suggests,  etymology  writing”  of  used  “rubric” for  both  Hawthorne fashions a moral  and emotional rubric. 2 His Scarlet Letter, novel  and  illustrated  in  inscribed on the written pages of the the human  texts  of  its  characters,  symbolizes human passion and is meant to be red/read for both pleasure and instruction.  He professes an hermeneutic role when  99 he calls attention to the significance of the cloth letter found in “The Custom House”: in  it,  “Certainly, there was some deep meaning  most worthy of  streamed  forth  from  interpretation,  the  mystic  and which,  symbol,  subtly  it were,  as  communicating  itself to my sensibilities, but evading the analysis of my mind” (28).  Like his Transcendental predecessors,  he exhibits what  Matthiessen has called the “tendency of mind” in these American writers to privilege spiritual meaning and an “American bias” to search for spiritual significance in every material fact (242). As Matthiessen also points out, the  Christian  this tendency came  habit of mind that saw the hand of God  manifestations  of  life,”  and  it  became  exaggerated  “from in all  in  the  Calvinist preoccupation with reading all phenomena for signs of predestination  (243).  emphasized that  this American proclivity  governing principle:  Furthermore,  Charles for  not a stylistic device,  Feidelson symbolism  has  “is  a  but a point of  view” thus making interpretation itself the essential theme of these  3 texts.  However,  interpret material  signs  while as  Emerson  symbols  and  of the  Thoreau Spirit,  seek  to  Hawthorne  seeks to understand the human heart and how emotional integrity requires  a  sympathy  for  self  and  for  others.  My  main  contention, in terms of metaphorics, is that the displacement of the reading metaphor by the listening metaphor in The Scarlet Letter calls for an adjustment of the whole interpretive project by highlighting the dangers of an over-reliance on visible signs as symbols of spiritual meaning.  100 Just as the Transcendental role of translator required a knowledge  of  self and of the  language of Nature,  Hawthorne’s  interpretive role required certain credentials as well.  This  background knowledge is indicated when he remarks on the cryptic nature of the scarlet cloth: of  a now forgotten art”  “the stitch  reliant on some expertise.  the  though,  heart:  .  .  gives evidence  and not even “ladies conversant with  such mysteries could unravel it”  facts,  .  (27), making its decipherment  Instead of a knowledge of natural  required here is a knowledge of the language of the  “tongue  of  flame,”  a  language  based  on  knowledge of self and a sympathy with the human situation.  a  Like  his two Transcendental predecessors, Hawthorne acknowledges his linguistic  credentials  Reflecting the visible human  signs  texts  messages  of  for  with  and  professes  Calvinist  salvation  one  to  damnation,  of  another.  translative  inclination  or  indications  a  how  The  they  project.  read people  Hawthorne exchange  resulting  novel  for  explores emotional  provides  a  descriptive grammar and dictionary for a language of the heart. With language itself emerging as a metaphor for the interpretive process,  the  overall  self—referential The  an  of  demonstration  synecdochic use  prompts  effect  of  the  understanding  of  The  how rhetoric  letter  “A”  how  using  of  Scarlet  to  Letter is  a  epistemic.  represent  language  is  language  results  in  changing interpretations of meaning.  Just as the scarlet letter  assumes  too  varying  significations,  generate varying perspectives.  so  does  language  in  use  101 This  evolving  relationships.  meaning  is  function  a  of  interpersonal  In the opening Custom House chapter,  Hawthorne  creates a sense of orality by establishing a relationship with his  audience  that  is  more  conversational than bookish.  informal  than  formal,  more  He is uncomfortable with using the  written word as a vehicle for autobiographical self—indulgences addressed to the public and,  instead,  few who will understand him” approach:  names his audience “the  (6—7).  He insists on an honest  “Thoughts are frozen and utterance benumbed,  unless  the speaker stand in some true relationship with his audience” at the same time that he intends to “still keep the inmost Me behind  its  veil”  establishes  not  characterizes  (7). only  the  With his  this  own  appropriate  statement  authorial attitude  wishes to speak from the heart:  of  intent,  stance,  for  the  but  he also  speaker  who  “Be true.”  Hawthorne’s preference for an honest spoken voice over an artificial literary style is reflected in his choice of topics as  well.  In  addition  conversational degradation of  style,  to  describing  the  first  the written word,  the  value  chapter  of  a  direct,  demonstrates  including an account  a  of his  thwarted literary career, a denigration of public documents, and a regret over the low esteem of imaginative literature.  He has  found writing a disappointing venture and has given up any hopes of  turning  the  confirming his  letters  “to  gold  upon  the  page,”  apparently  failed literary career and his place as a mere  “scribbler” (37).  He laments the amount of worthless writing in  102 official documents, like the Custom House papers, especially in contrast with the creative manuscripts that other writers have done and which have brought them no remuneration.  With this  declared aversion to official  a  accounts,  he  implies  need to  transcend the letter of the law and to search for the personal human story behind the public records——to seek the true account. Metaphors of Word in Action This disparagement of the written word in the introduction prepares the reader for a story whose action is composed almost solely of  language acts.  Important to my discussion  of this  text is the understanding that the fictional form of this novel is given meaning by its operant metaphors of word. and Johnson contend,  As Lakoff  certain spatialization metaphors exist in  our conceptualization system so that “MORE OF FORM IS MORE OF CONTENT”  (127).  fiction,  I  Therefore,  by extension to the metaphorics of  am proposing that more of a certain language form  stands for more of that language content, characterization displaces  in  reading,  the and  novel  and  intuition  in  so that both in the  the  action,  displaces  listening  reasoning.  The  action of the story is driven by the tension between writing/reading  and  speaking/listening,  with  a  corresponding  tension between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, thus  reflecting  the  throughout the novel.  moral/emotional Initially,  dilemma  which  operates  most of the members  of the  community are constrained by writing, by the letter of the law, by  Hester’s  visible  scarlet  letter.  As  the  story  proceeds,  103 however, their interpretive skills are enhanced, and they become “able” to discern the quality of her heart by listening to oral testimony about her and by observing her actions. Scott Harshbarger technique the  (1994)  has termed Hawthorne’s narrative  “rhetoric of rumor,” saying that “it is through  the process of legend making,  begun in rumor, that the scarlet  letter gathers its symbolic resonance.” 4 narrative  in  these  terms,  Harshbarger  orality of the fictional action.  By characterizing the affirms  the  essential  Just as the townspeople piece  together the truth about the anguished threesome by listening to gossip,  so  too  do  readers  stitch together  the  fabric  of  The  Scarlet Letter by sorting through the rumors. Given metaphors  this of  privileging  word,  RATIONAL  of  orality,  the  UNDERSTANDING  INTUITIVE UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING,  two IS  structural  READING  and  are given expression in  the actions of the fictional characters.  Taken together, their  actions demonstrate a disparagement of literacy and an elevation of orality,  resulting in a corresponding devaluing of rational  understanding and a privileging of intuitive understanding.  As  Hawthorne observes when he is contemplating the scarlet cloth, its meaning communicated itself subtly without “the analysis” of his  mind.  Furthermore,  the  value  of  intuition  here  is  to  facilitate not so much a cognitive understanding as an affective one.  While  inner  self,  Emerson  and Thoreau  Hawthorne’s  concern  search is  for knowledge  with  knowledge  of of  the the  emotional relationship between people, and his fictional scheme  104 highlights the value of an intuitive process for coming to terms with human passion.  Therefore,  MORE OF LISTENING  MORE OF INTUITIVE UNDERSTANDING.  STANDS  FOR  Throughout the novel, there is  an insistence on people talking, with countless imperatives to “speak”  and thus,  for others,  to listen.  In the first scene,  Governor Wilson commands Dimmesdale to “Speak to the woman” (52) and then more Then  another  strongly to Hester voice  from the  says,  crowd demands,  Speak and give your child a father!” is  the  confidence  expressed  “Speak out the name!”  the  in  “Speak,  (52-53). speech  woman!  Noteworthy here  act  itself,  as  if  Hester’s very articulation of Dimmesdale’s name would in itself function as an act of conception.  The entire plot of the story  relies on this need to SPEAK OUT:  for Hester to name the father  of her child,  for Chillingworth to tell his true identity,  for Dimmesdale to reveal the secret that destroys them all. dramatic  and metaphorical  tension  in the  story  often  and The  results  from the reluctance to speak in the face of these expectations. Understanding alone is insufficient in the scheme of the novel, and there is an insistence on articulation. THE VOICE FOR THE PERSON  In  the  represent explain,  metaphoric  their our  system  essential  conceptual  of  the  story,  characters. system  has  As a  people’s  Lakoff  special  voices  and Johnson case  of  the  metonymy THE PART FOR THE WHOLE, specifically, THE FACE FOR THE PERSON  (37).  Similarly,  in  the  metaphorical  system  of  The  Scarlet Letter, THE VOICE FOR THE PERSON serves to structure our  105 understanding of characters and their corresponding qualities. This representation is evident from the very first chapter when the  venerable  old  Custom  house  officials  are  talking “in voices between speech and a snore”  described  as  (9), revealing a  general assessment of these men as unenergetic bores.  Attention  is called to Chillingworth’s voice early on when he expresses his concern to Hester that Pearl will not recognize his voice, as if his voice stood for his entire self beginning, of his  (55).  From the very  Dimmesdale is characterized in terms of the quality  voice.  Even before he appears,  we  are told that his  effect on people is “like the speech of an angel,” and when he first speaks, “was  most of the description  tremulously  sweet,  rich,  deep,  is of his voice, and  broken”  extent of the  descriptions of voice in the novel  significance  generally  and  its  importance  which  (52).  The  signals  in  its  character  revelation. THE  VOICE  description  of  FOR  THE  PERSON  Pearl’s  conspicuous trait.  is  especially  voice,  which  is  evident often  in  her  the most  She is first described as having “one baby—  voice” that served a multitude of imaginary personages, enabling  her  to mimic  other  voices.  Pearl’s  mimicry,  then,  enables her to represent all the children of passion, all those who struggle to voice their anguish, and the broad scope of her utterances  demonstrates  articulate  that  emotion.  shrieking to silence.  the  extent Her  of  speech  For example,  human ranges  attempts  to  wildly——from  “with a terrific volume of  106 sound,” she routs two urchins who are harassing her (75), and in “The  Governor’s  Hall,”  she  responds  to  eldritch scream, and then became silent” seeing Hester,  Chillingsworth,  first  silence,  time  (98).  In the woods,  “piercing be  is  put  her  mother  (79).  with  “an  Her response to  and DinuTLesdale together for the  followed  by  loud  laughing and  shouts  she responds to her mother’s coaxing with  shrieks” and wildly insists that the scarlet letter  back  on.  In  the  joyous  spirit  of  the  “New  England  Holiday,” Pearl’s response to the festivities is to break out “continually into shouts of a wild, inarticulate, and sometimes  piercing  music”  indicates the  (162).  Her  frequently  distorted  speech  intensity of emotional chaos that can seize the  human heart, and the range of her vocalizing reflects the scope of human attempts to articulate passion. In addition to Pearl’s characterization as Every—voice, the three  main  characters  are  portrayed  between writing and speaking, Chillingworth  is  associated  in  terms  of  a  tension  between the book and the voice. with  the  book;  Hester  with  the  voice, and Dimmesdale with a vacillation between the two, as he yearns to speak out, The  character  but keeps reverting to his bookish ways. of  Chillingworth  is  aligned  with  writing  imagery, as he embodies a perverse reliance on the letter of the law. on  The first description of the physician, when Hester stands the  scaffold  and  sees  identification with books:  into  the  past,  points  to  his  a “pale, thin, scholar-like visage,  with eyes dim and bleared by the lamplight that had served them  107 to pore  over many ponderous books”  deprecates his  (46).  Even Chillingworth  own book—learning when he stands talking to a  townsman and says that Hester’s husband should have known better how to care for his wife: books”  (48).  provide  Even he  the  challenge,  kind  “should have learned thus too in his  seems  of  to understand that books  understanding  needed  in  do not  this  human  but still he is incapable of acting otherwise.  In  his interview with Hester in prison, he acknowledges that he is “the  book—worm  (56).  of  great  libraries,——a  man  already  decay”  Although he vows to use “other senses” than do the prying  multitudes,  his concern is only with visible texts and he is  incapable of hearing the language of the heart, to  in  seek  out  “sought truth  the  truth  of  in books”  Pearl’s  (57).  He  paternity  as he promises just  is portrayed as  as a  he  has  demonic  book-worm attempting to decipher the human hieroglyphics before him,  but  Thoreavian  constrained sense  of  by  “extra  the  visible  vagrance,”  signs. he  is  Lacking confined  by  the his  literacy; his learning is limited to the printed page, and he is emotionally illiterate when it comes to the text of the heart. In addition to the degradation associated with Chillingworth, he appears less frequently in the story, pointing to the devaluing of writing imagery:  LESS OF A CHARACTER STANDS FOR LESS OF HIS  CONTENT. In  contrast  spirit of the  with  law and  Chillingworth,  Hester  represents  is aligned with speaking imagery.  the She  seems to understand that the scarlet “A” does not account for  108 all that she is,  but is a mere “token” of her experience,  the whole truth of it.  not  She seems to know that the written word  is incapable of articulating the passion of the heart, that “The scarlet letter had not done its office” create  her  own  text  in  her  decorative  garments  she  clothes,  demonstrate  And yet,  for much of the novel,  she  first  sews  for  her  appears  metaphorically  the  silent or nearly so,  needle  socially prominent  dissatisfaction with  in  depicts  (120).  “The  her  work, and  both  on  Market  visible  “felt,  Place,” state.  texts. When  the The  at moments,  on  Pearl’s  she struggles to speak.  pre-verbal  but Hester  Her attempts to  scene  crowd as  is  if she  must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs”  (45).  But she is unable to voice her grief. Throughout  the  story,  Hester’s  emotional  represented by tortured attempts to speak. at Pearl,  Often while gazing  but which made utterance for itself, betwixt  speech and a groan” of  is  Hester would cry out “with an agony which she would  fain hath hidden,  kind  anguish  speech  (71).  that  comes  This mixed utterance is an anguished uncontrolled and works  as  a mixed  metaphor to represent the struggle to understand in the midst of pain.  Later, when she implores-Dimmesdale to “Speak though for  me!” so that she might retain custody of Pearl,  her speech is  characterized  than  (83).  Again,  as  wild the  and  only  altered  “a  speech  little works  less to  madness”  represent  the  uncontrolled passion. It is not until the private conversation that she has with  109 Dimmesdale in the woods that she is able to speak her mind and her heart. the  It is in this scene that the most honest exchange in  story  takes  articulate.  place,  and  Determined to  it  is  here  talk with  that  her  Hester  beloved,  is  she  most waits  anxiously until she “could gather voice enough” to speak to him. “When  they  heartfelt  found  talk.  voice  to  speak,”  Noteworthy  here  is  they  gradually  the  way  begin  that  the  a  word  “voice”  is used as a mass noun and seems to reflect emotional  honesty;  it is only when they are true enough to their passion  that  they  find voice  “enough”  to  express  it.  Not  only does  Hester increase her reading competency during this forest talk and “now read his heart more accurately,” she also realizes the strength of her love for Dimmesdale and questions, we not speak it?” out  “why should  It is at this point that she is able to cry  Chillingworth’s  sinister  secret.  At  Hester’s  urging,  Dimmesdale also becomes more vocal and candidly expresses both his forgiveness and his love for her.  Even though Dimmesdale  tries to “hush” Hester up when her talk becomes too direct for him, Hester insists on speaking her heart and encourages him to do likewise. While Chillingworth represents the bookish, and Hester the speaking,  intuitive heart;  rational mind  Dimmesdale embodies  the continual shift back and forth as he moves between writing and  speech.  attempts learning.  to  He break  spends  most  of  away  from  the  his  energy  constraints  making of  valiant  his  book—  He is described as a person who occasionally enjoyed  110 “the relief of  looking at the universe through the medium of  another kind of intellect than those with which he habitually held converse,” namely, with a freer atmosphere than that exuded by the “musty fragrance  .  .  from books”  .  (90).  Unlike Hester,  the woman of the cloth, who could survive in a freer atmosphere, Dimmesdale,  the  man  of  the  cloth,  seems  unable  to  reject  a  narrow—minded orthodoxy and is capable of only occasional lapses from his books.  As the action continues,  though,  it becomes  increasingly clear that the Reverend’s books could not provide the remedy for his emotional pain.  In the scene where he has  fallen asleep  large black-letter volume  in his chair  “with a  open before him on the table”  (100),  the juxtaposition of the  sleeping figure with the open tome demonstrates the uselessness of book knowledge in the face of emotional need. However, known  as  a  Dimmesdale is not only a man of books, successful  deterioration  is  speaker.  Furthermore,  reflected in his voice:  “his  his  for he is emotional  voice,  though  still rich and sweet, had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in  it”  [became]  (88),  and  more  as  he  tremulous  deteriorates than  before”  further: (89).  “his Even  voice before  Dinunesdale becomes overwrought though, his eloquence is only in the public forum; he speaks haltingly in private and struggles to tell of the secret pain in his heart. who  were  sympathy,  gifted  but  lacked  the  ability  Like other church men to  speak  with  human  Dinmiesdale lacked the tongue of flame: the gift that descended upon the chosen disciples at Pentecost, in tongues of flame; symbolizing, it would  111 seem, not the power of speech in foreign and unknown languages, but that of addressing the whole human brotherhood in the heart’s native language. (103) He can speak with a “persuasive eloquence” that impresses all who hear him,  messages  and he is viewed as “the mouth—piece of Heaven’s  of wisdom,  and rebuke,  and  love”;  yet  he  yearns  to  articulate his secrets and speak the “heart’s native language.” He “longed to speak out, from his own pulpit, at the full height of his could  voice and tell not.  The  day  the people what he was” after  his  vigil  on  the  (104);  but he  scaffold,  “he  preached a discourse which was held to be the richest and most powerful, had  ever  and the most replete with heavenly influences, proceeded  from his  lips”  (115);  but he  still  that can’t  voice his private pain. Despite his public eloquence, he even struggles to express his  emotion  privately  to  Hester  in  their  forest  talk.  His  hesitancy seems to be prompted by his inability to feel sympathy for Hester as the woman he has loved, an inability demonstrated when he  first  steps  Hester the person,  into the woods  and admits  but “the scarlet letter.”  to  seeing not  Preoccupied with  his own suffering, he is unsympathetic to hers and is unable to see  inside  to  her  anguish.  Although  he  is  the  one  reputation for eloquence, he lacks Hester’s compassion,  with  a  and he  is in awe of her because she is able to voice “what he vaguely hinted at,  but dared not speak”  (143).  After his conversation in the woods with Hester, Dinimesdale seems to understand the need for something besides the visible  112 text.  When  he  walks  into  his  study,  he  presence of the written texts in his room: the unfinished sermon on his desk, the midst.”  these  Sermon!”  by  the  the Hebrew Bible,  “with a sentence broken in  Furthermore, he is conscious of his authorship and  seems remorseful: done  struck  is  things,  “He knew that it was himself and written  thus  Apologetic for his writing,  awareness:  far  .  to  in  he views  .  the  who had  .  Election  it with a new  “Another man had returned out of the forest; a wiser  one; with a knowledge of hidden mysteries which the simplicity of the former never could have reached” conversation with Hester has calling  for  a  rejection  (159).  prompted a  of  the  Apparently, his  new perspective,  simplistic  However, his enlightenment is short—lived.  written  one  text.  When he and Hester  are reunited on the scaffold, he tries to “hush” her up when she talks of them being together again one day and reminds her of the law they broke.  Still constrained by the letter of the law,  he is bound by the printed word.  Chillingworth is right when he  calls Dimmesdale and himself “men of study, whose heads are in our books”  and cautions  the Minister  against  these books!” and urges him to “study less”  “these books,——  (114).  Repeatedly,  Dimmesdale reverts to this reliance on the written word, and his impulse reflects an inclination to depend on visible texts for verification of truth. However, Hester,  after  Dimmesdale’s  wooded  conversation  his linguistic ability is profoundly affected,  eloquence  enhanced.  When  he  gives  his  Election  with  and his Sermon,  113 attention  is  called  the  to  nature  of  “the  minister’s  peculiar voice” arid to his newly acquired language.  very  The author  emphasizes that the minister’s “vocal organ was in itself a rich endowment” and “Like all other music, pathos  .  .  it breathed passion and  in a tongue native to the human heart.”  .  Finally,  Dimmesdale is able to articulate his passion; it is Dimmesdale’s emotional honesty that provides his linguistic fluency, and “it was this proud and continual undertone that gave the clergyman his  most  enabled  appropriate him  to  speak  reveal his sin.  power.” the  His  tongue  sympathy  of  flame  with  Hester  afterwards  and  has to  Even though his confession is in a voice that  “had always a tremor through it, and sometimes a shriek” revealing the ongoing anguish,  (180),  it is emotionally eloquent and  represents his most heroic fictional moment.  Unfortunately, it  is fleeting, because he reverts to his rigidly literal ways just before his death.  Once again,  he tells Hester to “hush” when  she speaks of her hope for an eternity together; once again, he reminds her of the law they broke;  once again,  the letter of the law and by his emotional portrayal depicted  of as  Dimmesdale,  a  character  an  ineptness.  over—reliance  flaw and  the mark  he is bound by  on of  an  In the  literacy  is  emotionally  immature heart. The Human Text and the Voice of ‘Suffering Humanity’  Besides  the  understanding Dimmesdale,  via  there  degradation the is  of  character a  recurring  the  book  flaws  of  and  of  rational  Chillingworth  ontological  metaphor  and  which  114 operates as a  satellite of UNDERSTANDING IS READING and which  serves to further demean the written text: BOOK.  This  metaphor  is  used  to  reflect  A HUMAN LIFE IS A a  perverse  kind  of  literacy by which the reader attempts to interpret the mystery of other people by analyzing the outward actions of their lives. Hawthorne first uses it in self-deprecation to describe his own attitude:  “The  page  of  life  seemed dull and commonplace”  that was  (32).  spread out  Here,  before me  the outward signs of  daily life are portrayed as tedious, with the implication that what is most interesting about our lives is not visible.  The  suggestion is that it takes a special talent to discern these invisible secrets of life.  When Chillingworth asks the townsman  who the father of Hester’s babe is,  the citizen says that the  “matter remaineth a riddle; and the Daniel who shall expound it is yet a—waiting”  (48).  Here is the idea that deciphering the  hieroglyphics of life requires some wise man to do the decoding. Just as the prophet Daniel deciphered the cryptic writing that appeared on the wall during Beishazzar’s feast, so too is there a need for some seer to solve the mystery of Pearl’s paternity. Implied here is the fact that Chillingworth,  in his insistence  on reading only visible texts, is not this seer. life  as  a  book  is  to  disregard the real  clues  To see a human to  the human  enigma. A HUMAN LIFE IS A BOOK is also used in reference to the way others try to read Hester and Pearl: Thus she [Hester] will be a living sermon against sin (63)  115 It was often her [Hester’s) mishap to find herself the text of the discourse (64) It [Pearl’s appearance) was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life! (75) She [Pearl) had been offered to the world . . . as the living hieroglyphic . . . all written in this symbol had there been a prophet or magician skilled to read the character of flame! (148) Just  as  Pearl’s  Chillingworth father and  is  just  unable as  to  discern  Dimmesdale  is  the  unable  identity to  see  of  into  Hester’s heart and only sees the scarlet letter, so too does the emotionally  incompetent  person  attend  to  mere  outward  appearances. The perversity of reading only external signs is echoed in another ontological metaphor that pairs evil with writing: IS  A BOOK/SIN  IS A MARK,  as  revealed  in  several  EVIL  expressions  referring to Satan’s book: I [Hester] would willingly have in the Black Man’s book too (86)  .  .  .  signed my name  this ugly Black Man offers his book and an iron pen to everybody . . . and they are to write their names with their own blood. And then he sets his mark on their bosoms! . . . the old dame said that this scarlet letter was the Black Man’s mark on thee. . . . (133) This letter is his [the Black Man’s) mark!  (134)  There is something perverse about those who look for signs of sin in other people. witch,  Mistress Hibbins, who is thought to be a  is often the one who either refers to the mark of evil or  the one others tell about it.  When Hibbins invites Hester and  Pearl into the forest as they leave the Governor’s house, Hester says that if she had lost Pearl,  she would have readily signed  116 her name in the Black book. sin  of  despair  is  Here the temptation to commit the  associated  with  writing,  along  with  the  suggestion that searching for signs of evil can be the symptom of a sinister reader.  It is the evil Hibbins who assures Hester  that the Black Man will disclose his mark on Dimmesdale Once  again,  the visible text  is maligned,  (172).  and both those who  record their names in the Book of evil and those who read the marks there are sinful.  Also in evidence here is the conflict  between the Calvinistic inclination to look for visible markers of salvation, along with the opposing tendency to distrust those visible signs,  for only God could know the secrets of the heart.  The danger of relying on visible signifiers can even apply to  the  natural  text,  which  can  interpretation if read egotistically. anxious  state,  Dimmesdale  searches  be  a  source  of  faulty  When, in his increasingly frantically  for  sign while on his midnight vigil on the scaffold,  a  written  he  sees an  immense letter “A” in the sky and tries to read his destiny from it.  The author comments on the minister’s vision by saying that  it was a common belief at the time that “the destiny of nations should be revealed, in these awful hieroglyphics, on the cope of heaven.  A scroll so wide might not be deemed too expansive for  providence to write a people’s doom upon.” cautions,  However, Hawthorne  it was quite another thing for an individual to read  his destiny in such grandiose terms: In such a case, it could only be the symptom of a highly disordered mental state, when a man, rendered morbidly self-contemplative by long, intense, and secret pain, had extended his egotism over the whole  117  expanse of nature, until the firmament itself should appear no more than a fitting page for his soul’s history and fate. (113) In  this  case,  arrogant.  reading  the  book  nature  of  is  perverse  and  Implied here is the understanding that the visible  text of nature could not alone enlighten the human heart, that  to  passion regard  use is  it  as  even  for  the  sole  source  pathological.  other  people  for  understanding  Furthermore,  in  our  lives  as  human  to  is  read  the  and  human  without  sign  of  a  “disordered mental state.” While signs,  visible  are  texts,  portrayed  understanding,  such  as  inferior  actions  sources  and  of  natural  emotional  another ontological metaphor THE HEART IS A BOOK  is used to point to a superior kind of perceptive process.  This  metaphor highlights an interior kind of reading, prompting the insight  necessary  takes  gifted  a  for  having  a  heart—to—heart  reader——one who who  text——to understand human passion. Chillingworth  might  have  this  can  exchange.  see past  the  It  visible  Hester shows her fear that  kind  of  expertise  when  she  “clasped her hands over her heart, dreading lest he should read the secret there at once”  (58).  But if the embittered scholar  does possess a “native sagacity,” it is of a limited mental type that results from his attempt to “bring his mind into such an affinity with his patient’s”; receptiveness.  Chillingworth  it does not involve a heartfelt lacks  the  necessary  expertise to feel sympathy for another person,  emotional  and it is only  when he thinks he sees some visible sign on Dimmesdale’s chest  118 that he from  feels  enlightened.  attending  only  to  His  emotional  visible  texts  illiteracy results  and  from  relying  on  rational analysis only. Since  visible  texts  are  necessarily  inadequate  for  representing emotional understanding in the metaphorical scheme of  The  Scarlet  representing compassion.  Letter,  the  speech  intuitive  emerges  process  as  a  vehicle  necessary  for  for human  It is Dimmesdale’s Election Sermon that provides  the model of the language of the heart.  Speaking in the tongue  of flame, his voice has a low undertone . . . and yet, majestic as the voice sometimes became, there was forever in it an essential character of plaintiveness. A loud or low expression of anguish,——the whisper, or the shriek, as it might be conceived of suffering humanity. The complaint of a human heart, sorrow—laden, perchance guilty, telling its secret . . . to the great heart of mankind. . . . It was this profound and continual undertone that gave the clergyman his most appropriate power, (172-73) Here is the voice of a human heart in pain.  Here is the  voice of someone who summons up the necessary emotional honesty to let his sinful sadness be heard. representing  all  of  “suffering  communication is between hearts,  And here is the one voice  humanity.”  she  “listened  intimately, entirely  with  such  resulting  as the words cannot be heard;  it is the undertone that subtly communicates. is especially keen because,  The  Hester’s hearing  even though the sound was muffled, intentness,  and  sympathized  so  that the sermon had throughout a meaning for her,  apart  from  its  indistinguishable words”  (172).  The  crowd’s response to this “high strain of eloquence” is a “mighty  119 swell  many  of  voices,  blended  into  one  great  voice  by  the  universal impulse which makes likewise one vast heart out of the many”  (177).  Hawthorne’s  Recalling Thoreau’s “one articulation” of Nature, voice  imagery  represents  how  the  proper  kind  of  interpretation implies a unifying process, how the proper kind of  emotional  sympathy  prompts  a  unified  response.  As  in  Emerson’s and Thoreau’s epistemic scheme, truth does not reside in  one  them.  thing  or  another,  but rather  in the  exchange between  The harmony resulting from the tongue of flame does not  reside  in  one  person  or  the  other,  but  in  the  sympathetic  dialogue between them. This sympathetic exchange also can occur with the natural elements. emotional natural  If a person approaches the process of understanding truths. in  world  can  the  proper  speak to  the  intuitive individual  spirit, heart.  then  the  Although  Dimmesdale unsuccessfully tries to interpret the visible signs of nature written on the parchment of the sky, Pearl is able to perceive the spirit of Nature in its voice.  Here NATURE IS A  SPEAKER, and acquiring emotional understanding entails listening to her voice.  Pearl is the only character who is described as  having such a refined sensibility to Nature’s calling.  Because  Pearl has acquired an empathy from her own suffering,  she can  hear the anguished voice of another wild spirit.  Modeling her  mother’s ability to hear Dimmesdale’s undertone of suffering, Pearl  is  being  understand the  guided pain of  in the  sympathy necessary  another.  Many  to hear  and  linguistic expressions  120 reflect  how NATURE  IS A SPEAKER and how Pearl  dialogue with this natural voice. the brook:  into a  She can hear the voice of  “with its never ceasing loquacity,  tales out of the heart of the old forest.” streamlet as it keeps up “a babble, melancholy,  enters  it should whisper She can hear this  kind, quiet,  soothing,  but  like the voice of a young child that was spending  its infancy without playfulness.  .  .  .  After listening awhile  to its talk,” Pearl tries to cheer up the murmuring stream “but the brook  .  .  .  had gone though so solemn an experience that it  could not help talking about it, and seemed to have nothing else to say”  (134).  The  irrepressible,  sad babbling of the brook  corresponds to Pearl’s own rantings; both voices reflect life’s suffering——one in terms of the natural world and the other in terms of “suffering humanity.” Other expressions which reflect NATURE IS A SPEAKER also highlight the sadness and the mystery in the situation: the melancholy voice of the brook . . . kept telling its unintelligible secret . . . or making a prophetic lamentation (135) dark, old trees, which, with their multitudinous tongues, would whisper long what had passed there. . . . And the melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened, and whereof it still kept up a murmuring babble, with not a whit more cheerfulness of tone. (152) Here is a melancholy rhapsody, lyrics written  of  which  text  of  are the  telling of life’s pain,  paradoxically novel.  stitched  While  the  together  tale  presented here is in terms of Nature’s voices,  of  the sad by  the  suffering  it is important  121 to note that their sad story echoes the human saga as well.  The  harmonics of the novel provide for these natural voices to blend with human ones just as Hester and Dimmesdale “had mingled their sad and passionate talk with the melancholy murmur of the brook” (170).  Taken together, these voices join into one articulation  and resound with the anguish of life.  Also significant is the  way that the metaphor of listening highlights the dynamics of the exchange, with  one  so that the voices are usually heard in dialogue  another.  understanding  As  emotional  the  linguistic  truths  is  an  expressions ongoing  show,  process,  a  reciprocal conversation of sympathy. The many shouts, shrieks, and other labored verbal attempts throughout the novel reflect anguished efforts to express both human passion  and compassion.  In this way,  human emotion  personified so that PASSION IS A SPEAKER and manifested vocal  in  uncontrolled  irregularities  Dimmesdale’s etiology.  speech  verbal  aberrations  its voice often  outbursts.  are most often  While  associated with  often  During his midnight vigil,  is  hint  of  Pearl’s sadness,  some  evil  “Without any effort of  his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud,” and the  sound  devils  .  .  reverberates .  across  the hills  “as  had made a plaything of the sound”  if  a  company  (108).  of  Not only  does this description suggest the uncontrollable nature of his speech and its wildness, are told that his shriek Mistress Hibbins,  but also its alliance with evil.  We  is heard by Governor Bellingham and  so that evil hears evil.  Also while on the  122 scaffold in the dark,  Dimmesdale  inexplicably “and to his own  infinite alarm, burst into a great peal of laughter” which Pearl responded wildness,  to  with  laughter  of  her  own  (110-111).  In  its  the laughter seems to reflect the perverse nature of  uncontrolled human passion and the way it often threatens to voice itself. the  human  The continual attempt to control speech mirrors  effort  to  control  the  emotional  forces  within  us.  When Dimmesdale watches Hester and Pearl walk below him on the scaffold, to  stifle  insistent muffle  he works at “suppressing his voice,” and his attempt speech  results  inquiries  speech  in  (111).  intimates  a whispered This  some  response  repeated  to  effort  preternatural  Pearl’s  to hush  force  in  or  human  passion that is so powerful it can speak itself. Furthermore, this voice of passion bespeaks a perversity at times;  if uncontrolled,  passion can exert an evil  influence.  The experience that Dimmesdale has after leaving Hester in the woods is significant in the way that it demonstrates the evil that lurks in uncontrolled passion.  Some sinister force seems  to be trying to voice itself through Dixnmesdale as he encounters several  temptations——all  verbal  ones.  First,  he  feels  an  impulse to utter certain blasphemies about the communion supper to a deacon.  Feeling out of control,  and turned pale as ashes,  “He absolutely trembled  lest his tongue should wag itself,  utterance of these horrible matters”  (155).  Then,  in  he meets a  pious widow from his congregation and is tempted to quote a line of Scripture arguing against the mortality of the human soul, a  123 line which would have distressed the devout old woman. thanks to  Instead,  “a fortunate disorder of his utterance,” he mumbles  something else and saves the woman from scandal.  Next,  he is  tempted by the archfiend himself to whisper some suggestive word into the ear of a trusting young virgin, but he resists the urge and passes her without speaking, comment.  choosing silence over a lewd  Then, he feels an impulse to stop and “teach some very  wicked words” to some little Puritan children at play, but stops himself.  Finally, he longs to shake hands with a drunken seaman  and exchange some “heaven defying” oaths with him, to  forego  this  occasions  of  accompany  what  temptation  sin  are  he  with  feels  is  as  the a  thought and feeling” within him speak itself,  well  (156-7).  spoken  word,  “revolution (155).  in  but manages  All  of  and  they  the  these all  sphere  of  Here passion works to  and the human voice box is left to modulate the  emotional volume and regulate the articulations. The many deviations from normal speech deserve reflection, for  they  degree  demonstrate the  of  human  vehemence.  With  effort  intensity needed  to  of  human  passion  suppress  its curious mix of voices,  this  and  the  emotional  the scene during  “The Minister’s Vigil” is especially representative of the whole novel’s vocal quality.  When Chillingworth comes into range of  the scaffold, he hears Hester’s silence, Dimmesdale’s muttering, gasping, “sounded,  and whispering; indeed,  like  while Pearl human  speaks  language,  in a tongue that  but  was  only  such  gibberish as children may be heard amusing themselves with” and  124 “in  a  tongue  unknown to  the  erudite  clergyman”  (114).  This  Pentecostal scene is filled with the voices of the characters, all  speaking  in tongues,  and their chaotic  their moral and emotional chaos. modulate story,  speech,  reach  a  which  in  reflects  The efforts to speak and to  constitute  crescendo  language  this  the  primary  scene  action  and reveal  of  the  how human  passion sometimes expresses itself in pathological ways. Whether the  scene  is uproarious  or  subdued,  though,  the  ficitional action resides in the words exchanged between people. While the utterances are sometimes passionate outbursts as in the midnight vigil scene, there are also the quiet conversations like Hester and Dinunesdale’s all important forest talk. before this  conversation,  we  learn that Hester  Just  “hesitated to  speak” but it  is Dimmesdale’s anguished utterances which move  her:  words  “his  here  offered  her  the  very  point  of  circumstances in which to interpose what she came to say,” and then  “Again she hesitated,  effort”  (138).  but brought out  Articulating  the  pains  the words with an of  the  heart  is  agonizing, and we need to be in dialogue with another heart if we are to be successful.  We need to talk with one another and  not just vent our emotions.  It is this kind of heart-to-heart  talk that constitutes the most valued speech private  conversations  declarations.  tend  to  be  more  in the book,  honest  than  as  public  Just as Hester cautions Pearl not to talk about  what happened in the forest because “We must not always talk in the market—place of what happens to us in the forest” (170), the  125 metaphorical  action  expressions.  The private,  cautions  against  relying  on  public  forest talk always rings truer than  the public, marketplace discourse. The ‘Tongue of Flame’ and the Inadequacy of Language So it is that the real “Revelation of the Scarlet Letter” is  the  understanding  that  emotional  harmony  results  honest and sympathetic exchange between two people.  from  an  To become  fluent in this tongue of flame is to know both the relief that comes  from  the  transcendence listening,  disclosure  that  of  comes  from being  intense  from  someone  suffering, else’s  and  the  sympathetic  attentive to another person’s  passion.  Both Dimmesdale’s emotional honesty and Hester’s capacity for hearing  the  eloquence  undertone  of  sufficient.  the  of  suffering  Election  Although  result  speech.  they  may  not  in  the  emotional  Neither  one  alone  achieve  the  spiritual  is  salvation of the elect, they do achieve an emotional revival. Just as the power of Dimmesdale’s speech transcends the written text by “continually lifting him out of the written discourse that lay before him” lift  him  out  of  his  (176),  so too does his emotional honesty  confined  emotional  restraints.  Voice  transcends book, and the intuitive heart transcends the rational mind, just as UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING displaces UNDERSTANDING IS READING. Therefore, action  is  that  what  is being highlighted by the metaphorical  emotional  interpreting visible signs,  fluency  is  not  a  function  of  but rather of attending to audible  126 signals.  Understanding human passion  book, but of the voice. of suffering.  is a matter not of the  The real revelation is not of sin, but  The value of the scarlet letter is that it serves  merely as a marker of human transgression, and the significance of  Dimmesdale’s  confession  is  that  it  voices  this  pain  and  provides some relief from human anguish and some insight into the human  enigma.  revelations.. .are  As Dimmesdale tells meant  merely  to  Chillingworth,  promote  the  “these  intellectual  satisfaction of all intelligent beings, to see the dark problem of this life made plain. needful  to  the  A knowledge of men’s hearts will be  completest  solution  to  that  problem”  (96).  Therefore, making a public account of our sins can provide some knowledge of emotional truths and some intellectual relief, but the pang of suffering remains inside. The two structural metaphors UNDERSTANDING IS READING and UNDERSTANDING principle  IS  LISTENING  emerge  in The Scarlet Letter,  to  provide  a  unifying  as they work to demonstrate  that in order to understand emotional truths,  we need to move  beyond a reliance on visible signs and be sensitive to the voice of  suffering.  This  metaphorical  framework  results  in  a  privileging of intuitive understanding as reflected in the voice imagery.  Hawthorne remarks on his own need to attend to that  inner  voice:  voice  in  my  “There was ear”  (23).  always The  a  prophetic  reading  instinct,  metaphor  points  a  low  to  the  inadequacy of the intellect to discern emotional truth, and the listening metaphor confirms the value of the heart to provide  127 the  sympathy  characters  necessary  in  the  for  novel  genuine  never  understanding. completely  do  constraints of the letter of the law,  The  transcend  main the  and even Hester resumes  wearing the scarlet letter, indicating the human inclination to seek  affirmation  in  visible  signs.  However,  the  larger  community does seem to achieve some emotional triumph: When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived. When, however, it forms its judgment, as it usually does, on the intuitions of its great warm heart, the conclusions thus attained are often so profound and so unerring, as to possess the character of truths supernaturally revealed. (93) By relying on signs,  the  their  intuitive powers,  multitude  resolves  the  rather than  narrative’s  on visible  hermeneutical  tension between reading print and hearing the human heart. While  listening  to  the  voice  of  suffering  humanity  can  provide some relief from the anguish of hidden sin and repressed passion,  there is still some unresolved tension lingering,  for  the disclosure of human pain sometimes cannot do justice to the extent  of  the  suffering.  “There can be disclose,  .  .  .  As Dimmesdale tells  no power,  short of the Divine mercy,  whether by uttered words,  or by type or emblem,  secrets that may be buried with a human heart” words, can  Chillingworth,  (96).  to the  In other  there is some pain so enormous that no expression of it  be  adequate.  inadequate metaphor  for of  experienced.  Given  voicing  word  can  this  the  gap,  extent  sufficiently  language of  human  is  ultimately  agony,  represent  the  and  no  anguish  The many shrieks, whispers, and shouts throughout  128 the novel reflect the ongoing human attempt to articulate grief and passion. human  However, language can never adequately communicate  suffering;  contain it. a  can  only provide  Hawthorne’s black,  strictly  literal  suggesting though,  it  the  it  account,  complexities  can  red,  a  rubric  black  and  white  limits.  As  the truth.  Hawthorne  a  form to  version,  suffering; Just  limits to what can be expressed in language, epistemic  and  and gold text improves on  of human  only point to  a  suggests  by  ultimately, as  there  are  so too are there right  from  the  beginning, any public account is necessarily inadequate and the only  “true”  accounts  can  account provide  is  the  some  private,  unuttered  “intellectual  knowledge of the heart remains elusive.  one.  Verbal  satisfaction,”  In chapter six,  but  I will  treat this lingering tension by discussing how the metaphor of expressed  silence  provides  for  inexpressible emotional meaning.  some  representation  of  this  129 Chapter 4 Notes  1.  Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter: An Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism, p. 23. All subsequent page citations are in the text.  2.  Oxford English Dictionary, p.  3.  Charles Feidelson, Jr., Symbolism and American Literature, p. 43.  4.  Scott Harshbarger, “A ‘H_il-Fired Story’: Hawthorne’s Rhetoric of Rumor,” p. 36. All subsequent page citations are in the •text.  860.  130  CKAPTE 5 VOICES IN NEGATION IN MOBY DICK  An Epistemic Log  A book about a whaling voyage, Moby Dick can be viewed as an epistemic journey whose ship is language.  An examination of  its metaphorics of word will reveal a self-absorption with the relationship between language and knowing and, works  in  provide  this  study,  conceptual  understanding.  the  processes  frameworks  for  of  as in the other  reading  structuring  and  listening  the process  of  However, Melville’s metacognitive design is much  grander than any discussed so far in that it moves the site of discovery out of the inner self  (Emerson and Thoreau)  and away  from the human heart (Hawthorne) onto the high seas and into the wide world——assuming cosmic dimensions. Furthermore,  rather  than  demonstrating  the  role  of  interpreter, Melville’s text reveals the work of a cataloguer, one who constructs a  single text by assembling many texts as  well as bits and pieces of texts.  Preferring to compile, rather  than to connect, Melville works to gather information, Ishmael’s Melville’s  cetological own  effort  project to  functions  collect  possible about the enigma of death. systems  discussed  understanding  so  sought  far  which  through  as  as  much  a  so that  metaphor  relevant  data  for as  In contrast with the other highlight  language,  various  kinds  Melville’s  of  system  131 emphasizes the way in which the limits of language represent the limits of our human understanding. While the Transcendental project called for knowledge of the  self  and  sympathy with  of  Nature,  human  and  suffering,  demands other credentials. and comprehensive.  Hawthorne’s  venture  Melville’s  required  effort at  a  taxonomy  Here the need is to be encyclopedic  Just as Ishmael composes his own cetology to  help explain the whale since no existing book does it justice, so too does Melville compose his own Moby Dick to deal with the mystery  of  death;  catalogues  of  however,  information  both  attempts  because  can  language  only can  result  in  provide  no  certain explanations, only a glossary of possible ones.  Ishmael  describes the task of drafting a systematization of cetology as “a ponderous task; no ordinary letter—sorter in the Post—office is  equal  to  it”:  a  description  eschatological venture as well. results  from  Ishmael’s  that  fits  Melville’s  Moreover, much of the narrative  attempt  to  discover  himself  by  discovering the meaning of the whaling voyage; by composing the tale,  he works  to  compose himself.  Here  again,  rhetoric  is  epistemic in the way that each re-telling of the story provides a re—creation of truth.  As Bruce Grenberg puts  it,  “Ishmael  discovers what happened to him on the voyage only as he writes” (emphasis  added)  •2  Each  linguistic  rendering  suggests  a  new  epistemic effort. Symbolizing particularly  the  the  elusive  enigma  of  and  death,  vast the  mysteries whale  of  emerges  life, as  the  132 controlling symbol of the work and provides the living text and object of study. unobtainable  The whale is an appropriate representative of  truth  in  the  way  that  “its  mighty  bulk  affords a most congenial theme whereon to enlarge, amplify, and generally expatiate. (465). the  Would you,  you could not  compress him”  A useful symbol of truth which can not be compressed,  whale  whale’s  has  is  the  necessary  unwritten  “an  vastness.  life”  (135,  However, emphasis  since  added),  the the  cetologist must observe it in action, for “only on the profound unbounded sea, can the full invested whale be truly and livingly found out”  (464).  Like Thoreau’s desire for “living poetry,”  Melville’s scheme insists on the superiority of the living text and thus calls for special attention to the image of the living voice. Moby  Therefore,  in its comprehensiveness, the metaphorics of  provides  Dick  for  many  voices,  including  “half-  articulations” that finally work to cancel each other out, with this result:  a significant kind of silence.  Melville’s design acknowledges the relentless human need to find meaning  in  life,  and  it  is this  inevitable  interpretive  lure that underwrites his text and preoccupies his characters, compelling advises warns  them to  against  against  a  the  search  for  significance.  preoccupation with compulsion to  While Hawthorne  visible  interpret  signs,  signs  Father Mapple says in telling the story of Jonah, perhaps,  a  hitherto  unheeded  meaning  here”  at  Melville all.  As  “There lurks,  and  even  forcefully declares later that it is “full of meaning”  more  (44—5).  133 Ahab demonstrates this hermeneutic persistence when he pauses to examine the figures on the doubloon “to interpret for himself in some monomaniac way whatever significance might lurk in them” for “some certain significance lurks in all things”  (44),  and  his obsession to track Moby Dick illustrates the interpretive impulse taken to its evil extreme. It is this epistemic lurking that haunts these characters, and the lingering belief that some certain meaning can be found that prompts Ishmael to keep trying to account for what happens. Even though the Pequod’s voyage comes to an end, Ishmael,  as the representative of us all,  whaling,  will keep telling his story,  make sense of it. because  it  we know that  will continue to go  and will keep trying to  In this fated scheme, language is useful, not  solves  life’s mysteries;  but because  it  allows us  continually to name our epistemic boundaries, to identify what we cannot know, and most important of all, a  catalogue  explanations  of  to  life’s  to keep on creating  mysteries——ultimately  acknowledging that none of them is certain.  What is inevitable  here is the process of meaning—making, not the destination, but the  relentless  voyage  of  discovery.  Like  a  ship’s  log that  records all relevant information without interpreting it, Moby Dick  provides  an  epistemic  log  of  an  endless  voyage,  which humans are fated to embark again and again,  as  one  on  long as  they seek to understand life’s enigmas. That  Melville  had  misgivings  about  the  system to explain these elusive truths is  adequacy  evident.  of  any  Not only  134 does he reject the Transcendental confidence in accessing the spiritual  truth  of  the  inner  self,  suggests  he  experience of Transcendentalist truth is fatal. eyed young Platonist,”  that The  a  full  “sunken—  contemplating nature from his perch on  the mast—head, who falls first into a mystical trance and then to his  death  in the  exemplifies  ocean,  the transcendentalist  whose “merging” with nature is death (162-63). Melville also refers to the difficulties with Calvinism as a system for discerning God’s will.  For example, when Starbuck  makes his last attempt to appeal to Ahab’s reason, the captain’s reply is to identify his own perverse obsession with the will of God,  thus confirming the Calvinist denial of free will.  Ahab  points to a Calvinist God who appears to be the spirit of evil in the universe:  “What  commands me proper, it I,  .  natural heart,  God,  Ahab’s  .  or who,  maniacal  .  .  inscrutable, unearthly thing  .  making me ready to do what in my own  .  I durst not so much as dare?  that lifts this arm?”  quest with  (546).  Divine Providence,  into question the entire Calvinist scheme.  .  .  Is  .  By aligning  Melville  calls  References such as  these serve to undermine all philosophical systems and result in Melville’s intimation that certain truths, such as the nature of God,  the  human  potential  for  transcendence,  and the  role  of  suffering and death, are ultimately unobtainable and defy ‘some certain significance’.  That none of the signs  neither visual nor auditory,  in Moby Dick,  can be satisfactorily interpreted  confirms Melville’s epistemic comment:  the only truth is in the  135 telling. While Scarlet style  the  Letter  of  the  tone  cultivated  echoes  book  to  the  shift  the  more  in  Nature,  away  Walden,  from  personal  the  style  more  the  of  work  defies  single  a  descriptor  The  literary  the  of  Melville’s text is marked by a curious anonymity. tone  and  voice,  The overall  because  in  its  comprehensiveness, Moby Dick includes so many genres and points of view that it lacks any distinctive persona. texts,  it  ranges  from  scientific treatise,  novel  to  Composed of many  documentary,  from  drama  from philosophical essay to poetry.  to At  times, the narrative voice of Ishmael presents the point of view directly;  other  at  times,  Ishmael  reports  conversations  indirectly; at still other times Ishmael’s voice is silent, and we  overhear  directions. that  the  story  in  soliloquies,  asides,  As Michael Gilmore has remarked,  Ishmael——or  indeed,  anyone——has  and  stage  “One has no sense  written  these  pages;  lacking a mediating point of view, they produce the illusion of a  text  without  Melville  an  intimates  3 author.” that  there  By  creating  are  without endorsing any one of them.  many  such  an  versions  illusion, of  truth,  Ultimately, these voices of  explanation become voices in negation as they effectively cancel each other out, questions.  leaving only the written text and the lingering  In the absence of a single mediated point of view,  the text functions anonymously.  Like whiteness which “is not  so much a color as the visible absence of color, and at the same time the concrete of all colors” (198), the text seems generated  136 by no one and,  at the same time, by everyone.  Like the ship’s carpenter who constructs his work out of bits and pieces of materials, Melville constructs his text out of various genres and presents the prefabricated form without initial  introduction  or  comment,  in  authorial  anonymity.  Instead of direct commentary, the work begins with a collection of mini—texts. by a  First is an “Etymology” that has been “supplied  late consumptive usher to a grammar school”  “the Extracts,”  followed by  excerpted comments about whales gathered by a  “sub—sub librarian” (ix).  This opening compendium forecasts the  overall  text:  intent  information, left  up  to  of  the  to  compile  but not to analyze it directly, the  reader.  In  this  way,  the  and  catalogue  for that move is overall  structure  functions iconically to demonstrate how language can be used to name and classify life’s mysteries,  but it cannot solve them.  By deliberately assembling pieces of texts here at the beginning with little or no connecting threads, Melville resists the book as a form.  Instead, he prefers to compile data and acknowledges  that  whole  “This  draught”  (148).  book  is  a  draught--nay,  but a  draught of  a  By resisting the book as a unifying form, his  resulting assemblage works to reinforce the shift away from the image of the book as a satisfying embodiment of truth. The Tower of Babel and the Pyramid  As the early references to grammar, library  signal,  language itself.  Moby  Dick  is  concerned  the lexicon, with  the  and the topic  of  Furthermore, the fact that most of the authors  137 of these initial excerpts are dead immediately pairs  language  with death, an association that is threaded throughout the work. The  marble  tablets  the  in  epitaphs of dead sailors, explain death. powers  of  secrets: (38).  However,  death,  for  Whalers’  Chapel,  inscribed  with  point to the way we use language to  language proves to be no match for the the  “frigid  inscriptions”  reveal  no  “What bitter blanks in those black—bordered marbles”  Later, using the Tower of Babel and the pyramid to elicit  associations between language and death, primacy  and  ultimate  nature  of  Melville suggests the  death.  progenitors of mast-head builders,  In  discussing  the  Ishmael emphasizes that the  pyramid builders must be given priority over the builders of the Tower of Babel because the Tower fell, marked  by  language,  the as  pyramid,  is  represented  by  association between whale,  which  is  the  enduring  Tower  language and death  characterized  hieroglyphics”  (207),  of  (315).  pyramids”  more  as  implying that death,  of  (powerful)  Babel.  This  as  than same  is transferred to the  being  marked  with  “mystic  like the “mysterious cyphers on the walls Just  as  the  whale  ultimately  is  undecipherable, so too is the mystery of death finally incapable of being interpreted by human language. ‘Explain Myself I Must’ In  tension  with  Melville’s  comment  that  language  is  ultimately inadequate for solving the mystery of death is his contention that humans are compelled to keep on trying to use language to crack the eschatological code.  Despite the failure  138 of human attempts to interpret either the “mysterious cyphers” on the walls of pyramids or the ones on the surface of whales, he demonstrates the human obsession with the ongoing attempt. When Ahab declares, hate”  “That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I  (168), he is acknowledging the controlling passion of the  work:  the hatred of the  Ishmael says,  inaccessibility of truth.  And when  “it was the whiteness of the whale that above all  appalled me,” he not only echoes Ahab’s hatred of the elusive nature of truth, he also vents his “despair of putting it in a comprehensible form”  (189).  For Ahab,  is to understand; for Ishmael to  articulate  that  the overwhelming desire  (and Melville), the compulsion is  understanding:  “in  some  dim,  random way  explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught” (189—190). understand  In and  this the  way,  need  the  to  tension  articulate  between that  need  to  understanding  in  the  words drives the action of Moby Dick and provides the thematic underpinning of its metaphorical system. Both  UNDERSTANDING  IS  READING  and  UNDERSTANDING  IS  LISTENING operate to demonstrate that literacy and orality can only help us to understand that there are limits to what humans can know.  Language acts can only provide epistemic relief by  allowing us to keep on trying to explain, rather than to publish any certain explanations. and  the  designated  As the only survivor of the Pequod  narrator,  Ishmael  is  the  one  who  will  metaphorically continue the attempt to account for the mystery of  death.  He  represents  the  human  compulsion  to  keep  on  139 explaining those  terrifying  forces  that we do  until we can understand what we mean, name them. over  comprehend  or at least until we can  To explain something is somehow to subdue its force  , 4 us  phantom”  not  Ishmael’s  and  his  from  effort  childhood  to  account  reflects  for  the  the  human  “nameless  attempt  to  explain away our fears. Furthermore,  like  the  insistence  on  the  dangers  of  the  visible text reflected in The Scarlet Letter, the action of Moby Dick  points  to  the  UNDERSTANDING  IS  disparagement  of  there is  dangers  READING the  is  visible  of  relying  used  to  text.  on  visible  reflect Right  at  the the  signs.  continual beginning,  a caveat to readers advising them of the dangers of  taking the written text too seriously,  cautioning them not to  “take the higgledy-piggledy whale statements, however authentic, in these extracts, for veritable gospel cetology” (ix). records are unreliable,  and this warning is placed in front of  readers straightaway and throughout the work. “The Chapel”  Written  (except the  When everyone in  illiterate Queequeg)  is  reading the  inscriptions written on the marble tablets recounting the deaths at  sea,  notes  that  “bleak cause  Ishmael many  tablets”  readers  blanks”  to  recognizes accidents do  the are  limitations never  recorded  grieve  anew.  and “deadly voids”  incomplete,  print when and  little to explain the deaths; He  terms  then,  these  that  he  these  they merely  texts  “bitter  and even “unbidden infidelities in  the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith.” writings  of  they  fail  Not only are these  to enlighten,  and their  140 every existence prompts a loss of faith: immovable  inscriptions!”  (39).  The  “What despair in these  incompleteness  of  these  epitaphs reflects the inadequacy of the written word to record the whole truth. Just as written records fail to explain death, books fail to explain life adequately.  so too do  Ishmael argues that out  of the many books about whales, most provide no real knowledge and only two  even pretend to portray the  Since the whale’s  is  capture  meaning.  its  vast  “an unwritten Books  life” are  living whale  (134).  (135),  cannot  books  inadequate  in  their  portrayal of both the enigma of death and the mystery of life. Like the pictures of whales only primitive  found in ancient books which are  intimations of the real creatures,  text supplies only a partial, intended  for the  imprecise view.  drowned Jeroboam  never reach their mark”  (327):  the written  Like the letter  crew member,  “most letters  the written word simply cannot  accurately access truth. Despite the obvious inadequacies of the printed word, can resist the temptation to search for truth in writing.  few The  way that each crew member carefully reads the markings on the doubloon that Ahab nails up as a reward for first sighting Moby Dick highlights the irresistible lure of the written text. Stubb  reminds  observing text” text  that  (444). for  us  of  the  “There’s  idiosyncratic another  nature  of  rendering now;  reading  but  still  And by one  At one point, even Queequeg looks to the printed  enlightenment.  In  the  parlor  of  the  Spouter-Inn,  141 Ishmael watches the illiterate harpooner “wholly occupied with counting  the  pages  of  the marvelous  book”  he has  picked up.  Since he cannot read the volume in the traditional way, Queequeg measures its contents by counting out the pages fifty at a time. His  unusual  method  of  reading  echoes  the  variety  ways  of  to  interpret text and also calls into question both the traditional mode of reading and a reliance on the written word as a source of truth. places.  As  Stubb later remarks,  “you books must know your  You’ll do to give us the bare words and facts,  come in to supply the thoughts” (443). can supply only the fundamental kind of understanding,  but we  Reading the written word  facts and reflects  a  limited  but the inclination to rely on print is  powerful. In every case,  the visible text confounds us.  markings on the stone walls of pyramids, the exterior of whales, “all visible objects denying  us  Therefore,  access  .  to  like the etchings on  and like the wrinkles on Ahab’s brow; .  .  are but as pasteboard masks”  what  truth  may  lurk  behind  (220) them.  UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING works to suggest a more  accurate source of knowledge: work,  Like the  the human voice.  Throughout the  there is a reliance on the human voice to reveal truth.  In this way, listening represents an understanding of the living truth.  It  is  Ishmael’s  recollected  constitutes much of the text. of the story,  story  told  aloud  that  Much of the significant action  like the dismasting of Ahab’s leg,  occurs out of  sight, and we learn of it from Ishmael’s retelling, rather than  142 from direct exposition. Furthermore, most of the tension in the story results from waiting to hear the call that Moby Dick has been sighted or to hear some news of the whale yelled across the water from passing boats.  Throughout the voyage,  begins,  the crew strains to hear the voice that announces the  whale’s  sighting.  Because the  and particularly as the chase  doubloon  goes  to the  it matters who first calls it out loud.  shouts first,  Tashtego’s protests,  one who Despite  Ahab insists that he is the first one to  sight Moby Dick and then continues to cry out “There she blows!” repeatedly,  not  so  much  for  information  about  appearance as for verification of its existence  the  whale’s  (548).  “Fired  by the cry which seemed simultaneously taken up by the three look-outs,”  the  crew  begins  its  assault  (548).  When  Ahab  reminds the crew to “sing out for every spout though he spout ten times a second!” (555), he is pointing to the need for their voices.  Once again, he needs their voices to affirm the reality  of  great  the  explanation verification  whale,  of of  explióate them.  its  even  though  mystery.  life’s  The  mysteries,  On the Pequod,  they human even  do  not  voice though  provide can it  an  provide does  not  the shouts of whale sightings  and the cries of response provide the most stirring events in the story, and the anticipation of these oral warnings sustains a belief in the mysterious white whale when it is out of sight. Conversations also constitute a large portion of the text and sometimes prove to be a useful source of information.  When  143  narrates  Ishmael  “The  Town  Story,”  Ho’s  he  interweaves  narration with the actual conversations exchanged, story emerges within the dialogue of a right whale,  his  so that the  After the killing  (247 ff).  Stubb and Flask discuss the significance of  having a sperm whale hoisted on one side of the boat and a right whale’s on the other; together, they talk through an explanation Furthermore, the conversations that Ahab has with the  (332 ff). crews  of many  Virgin,  Rose  other boats Bud,  Samuel  (the Albatross, Enderby,  Town Ho,  Bachelor,  Rachel,  Jeroboam, Delight)  provide his main source of information about the whereabouts of Moby Dick.  Like the accumulated rumors in The Scarlet Letter,  the conversations across the water in Moby Dick constitute much of the story’s action. ‘Half-articulated Wailings’ and Truthful Gibberish  While human voices are more important to the crew of the Pequod than books,  as there are many garbled and semi—articulate voices.  either, As  these vocalizations are not always reliable  they  struggle  to  figure  out  truth,  sometimes  people  talk  gibberish, as Queequeg describes the talk of Christians whom he  tries  to  emulate  (58).  Stubb  often  responds  laughter, and Starbuck with strange whispers. conspicuous vocalizations,  however,  “wails,” and “shrieks” of distress.  are the  with  queer  Some of the most “sobs,”  “shouts,”  As in The Scarlet Letter,  these cries of alarm reflect the human struggle to articulate anguish, specifically the agonizing effort to explain death.  In  answer to whether or not Moby Dick was the whale that dismasted  144 loud, animal sob” and then  him, Ahab responds “with a terrific, with “a half sob and a half shout”  (167).  The intensity of his  voice points to the intensity of the epistemic struggle, and the partial quality of the utterance reflects the impossibility of articulating the whole truth. After Ahab is retrieved from the water following his first “nameless wails came from him,  day’s assault by Moby Dick, desolate  sounds  from  out  ravines,”  demonstrating  strained efforts to voice the awful truth (553). day of the chase,  again  as his  On the second  “Ahab’s unearthly slogan tore every other cry  but his to shreds,” emphasizing the terror of the truth and the power of his obsession to voice it. sighted  for the  final  time,  Just before Moby Dick is  “from the three mast-heads three  shrieks went up as if the tongues of fire had voiced it” Again,  (566).  alarming voices reflect an intimation of the impending,  terrifying truth.  Then on the final day of the chase, there is  a conspicuous conflict of voices. cabin window warning Ahab of  A voice cries from the low  sharks,  but Ahab hears  “for his own voice was high—lifted then”  (568).  nothing,  The voice of  doom negates the voice of caution. While  these  cries  of  anguish  and  impending  doom  are  chillingly audible throughout the story, the voices of the dead, though less frequently heard, are even more disturbing.  Before  the disastrous encounter with Moby Dick, the crew hears cries so wild  that  they  sound  “like  half-articulated wailings  of  the  ghosts of all Herod’s murdered innocents,” and the old Manxman  145 declares that they are “the voices of newly drowned men in the The voices of the dead scream out in shrieks and  (527).  sea”  Important to  sobs and intimate the terrifying reality of death. that  is  here  note  characterized as the  struggle or  fully  of  voices  the  failure  express  language  of  we  what  fully  do  nature  the  of  death  are  inevitably only half-articulated.  are  also  ever  to  understand  know——even  when  the  All human attempts to  knowledge comes from direct experience. express  dead  the  indicating the extent of  “half—articulated,”  and  to  these  and  necessarily  incomplete  Furthermore,  the many cries  of alarm in the story jar us from complacency and remind us of the  Just as Ishmael warns  lurking presence of death.  deceptive  lull  of  a  sailing  ship  and  its  dream-like  of the state  because with one false move and “with one half—throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea,  no  more to rise forever” (163), so too do the recurring distressing articulations  in  the  story  remind  us  that  human  language  is  ultimately powerless against the force of death. In voyage, out to  addition  to the aberrant speech heard throughout the  sometimes what may sound at first like nonsense turns be truthful.  Elijah who  The disreputable-looking  seems to be talking  “gibberish”  stranger  warns  named  Ishmael  and  Queequeg of impending disaster before they embark on the Pequod, and he  should  have been heeded  ignored instead (97).  as  a prophetic voice,  but  is  He sounds like a crazed voice crying out  in the wilderness, but turns out to be a true prophet.  In the  146  same way, the voice of the deranged cabin boy, Pip, sounds crazy but sometimes reveals wisdom. Pip’s  coffin,  speech  is  When he addresses Queequeg in his  both  lyrical  and  wild,  prompting  Starbuck to observe that sometimes: in violent fevers, men, all ignorance, have talked in ancient tongues,’ and that when the mystery is probed, it turns out always that in their wholly forgotten childhood those ancient tongues had really been spoken in their hearing by some lofty scholars. (488) Starbuck suggests that what sometimes sounds sophisticated Like the  language that we  “tongue of flame”  like lunacy is a  once knew but  have  in The Scarlet Letter,  forgotten. this  is an  ancient language that the truly wise and eloquent can speak,  a  language sometimes spoken more fluently by children and mad men who  are  more  sensitive  to  human  suffering.  However,  while  Hawthorne’s ‘tongue of flame’ is associated with human passion, Melville’s fiery language is identified with violence. demeaning  By speaking,  writing  and  shifting  the  attention  to  the action of Moby Dick metaphorically reflects the  shift from the authority of the book to the authority of the voice.  However,  ultimately,  neither books nor voices  can be  relied on as sources of knowledge, for truth is ever on the move and finally inaccessible.  All that written and oral  language  can do is remind us of life’s mysteries. Character as Linquistic-Epistemic Philosophy Just  as  the  action  language and knowing, evidence  of  this  reflects  the  -  relationship  between  so too does the characterization reveal  dynamic.  Three  characters  are  especially  147 important because of their pivotal roles and because they can be defined in terms of their stance toward language and knowledge. Ishmael and Ahab represent the two most contrastive approaches to the use of language: language  to  reflects  the  express  Ishmael reflects the human urge to use  our  understandings  inclination  understandings  to  privately.  use  publicly,  language  Queequeg  to  points  to  while  Ahab  generate the  use  our of  language for creating social identity and consensus. In historical terms, these characters embody the long—time tension  between  rhetoric  and  philosophy--a  tension  initially  prompted by Plato’s concern with rhetoric’s relativistic view  truth.  of  expressed  an  In  1828  insistence  the  on  rhetorician  keeping  these  Richard domains  Whately  separate,  saying that the purpose of philosophy was “the ascertainment of the truth by investigation,” while the function of rhetoric was “the establishment of it.” 5  It is in the character of Ishmael  that the distinction between philosophy and rhetoric completely collapses because he uses process  of  establishing  language to ascertain truth it.  Furthermore,  the  in the  character  of  Queequeg is interesting in the way that it represents a modern variation of this epistemic theme:  the social construction of  truth by means of a dialogue with others.  An examination of  these three figures will reveal how their characterizations can be defined in terms of these views of the role of language in the discovery of truth. Ishmael illustrates both a philosophical and a rhetorical  148 stance in the way that he voices the human inclination to use language both to investigate and to articulate life’s mysteries. The character of Ishmael embodies the view of life characterized by a preoccupation with explaining the enigmas we encounter.  In  his role as narrator, he introduces himself as someone not only inclined to go to sea, but also as someone compelled to explain what he sees.  He knows that when the “hypos” get the best of  him, he must “account it high time to get to sea” by  this  need  to  “account”  for  life,  Ishmael  Prompted  (2).  represents  the  rational thinker who constructs a text of logical explication as he goes along.  As part of this construction, he gathers other  accounts along the way. pushes  the  landlord  Insistent on getting at the truth,  of  the  Spouter  Inn  get  to  past  bamboozling stories in telling of Queequeg’s whereabouts.  he his  When  the landlord finally does explain that Queequeg is out peddling his  shrunken  heads,  “this  unaccountable mystery”  (20),  account  cleared  the  up  otherwise  and Ishmael is satisfied for the  time being. Ishmael’s  search  for  relentless and never—ending.  verbal  explanations,  however,  is  When he is lying in bed recalling  the terrifying experience he had as a child who was sent to bed and woke up to sense a supernatural presence in the room,  the  most frightening part of this memory seems to be that he was unable  to  talk  about  it  accurately.  The  “nameless”  phantom  remains terrifying mainly because it is an unspeakable terror (28), one that can not be articulated in words.  That it cannot  149 be named and accounted for is Ishmael’s greatest fear.  It is no  accident that Ishmael is the only one to survive, for, like Job, he has been designated as the one to live and tell  about it.  Melville uses Ishmael to acknowledge the human impulse to seek a  public  Ishmael  logos, never  is  completely,  proclaim and publish what we know.  to  able  to  explain  the  mystery  of  the  That whale  but is destined to re—tell the story indefinitely  demonstrates the linguistic dilemma: writing or talking,  No matter how much we keep  words can only re—name those  “unspeakable  phantoms”; they can never adequately explain them. In addition to representing the inclination to articulate publicly as we seek to understand privately, Ishmael also stands for  the  human  texts. books,  propensity to  revert to  a  reliance  on visible  Even though Ishmael cautions us against a dependency on he  meaning.  is  always  He notes  on  the  look—out  for  visible  markers  the tatoos on Queequeg’s cheeks  of  and arms,  their cryptic quality “an interminable Cretan labyrinth”  (27);  he can not resist reading them even while acknowledging their hieroglyphic nature. like the planks  of  He observes how Ahab’s brow is the deck and  These  dents  him:  Not mere wrinkles these,  meaning”  assume  (200)  .  significance  Even  though  “dented”  like the brow of the whale. and  echo  correspondences  but rather signifiers Ishmael  confronts  for  “full of continual  reminders that visible text inadequately conveys truth, he keeps looking to visible signs for guidance. that  “there  is  Even though he admits  no Champollion to decipher the Egypt of every  150 man’s and every being’s face” and questions “how may unlettered Ishmael brow?”  hope  to read the  awful  Chaldee  of  the  Sperm Whale’s  (358), he keeps trying to read these visible texts.  While Ishmael exemplifies the use of language to articulate the ways of the world for himself and others, Ahab demonstrates the use of language to make sense of the ways of the world only for himself. to  get  His maniacal compulsion to understand Moby Dick,  at  existence, described  that  “inscrutable  thing,”  propels  his  but the understanding he seeks is private. from the  outset as  a man who  “doesn’t  entire Ahab is  speak much”  (84), who is given to prolonged silences, and who is frequently described as  sitting  “mutely.”  Cabin meals  are described as  solemn affairs “eaten in awful silence” and conducted by Ahab, “dumb” and presiding like “a mute, maned sealion”  (152—3).  The  silence at the Captain’s table is so pervasive that it causes Flask to feel uncomfortable while sitting “dumfoundered before awful Ahab”  (154).  Ahab’s search for understanding is a silent,  interior process in which he consults only himself,  resisting  conversations with others. In  his  represents  a  propensity private  for  logos,  silence, the  use  the of  figure  interior  of  Ahab  speech  to  understand the enigma of death without regard for sharing that information with others.  In contrast with Ishmael, he seeks to  understand Moby Dick not so that he can account for the mystery to others, but so that he can calm the passion that burns within him.  His nionomaniacal behavior is exerted in an effort to slash  151 at  the pasteboard masks  “voicelessly”  of  truth,  to his death,  so that when he  is  jerked  we cannot be sure what he does or  does not understand. While Ishmael seeks to provide a public account and Ahab searches for a personal understanding, fellow  who  seems  more  construction of truth.  interested  Queequeg is a sociable in  collaborating  on  a  Since he is illiterate, he must rely on  his experiences and conversations with others for information. He prepares later  sacrifices  receives  some  and converses with his gods  kind  of  choice of a whaling vessel  oracular  (69).  response  Apparently,  (24),  and  regarding  the  he is conversant  with divine voices and seems well—informed of spiritual truths, so  that  his  Queegueg  illiteracy provides  examines the book  some  him  advantages.  After  in the inn parlor by counting its  pages rather than by reading its print, Ishmael tries to explain to him the meaning of the print and of the pictures in it.  This  conversation seems to bring the two closer together, as they end the session pressing foreheads together in friendship, and later having a cozy “chat” in bed (54-55).  While literacy would have  allowed Queequeg to read the pages on his own, his conversation with Ishmael proves beneficial to them both and creates a kind of  marriage  of  discern truth  minds.  Queequeg  by constructing  represents  the  attempt  to  it via a dialogue with others,  thus suggesting that it is the process of interpretation that unites  us  all.  The  fact  that  it  is  Queequeg’s  coffin  that  serves as a lifesaving buoy for Ishmael further suggests that  152 any public expression of truth relies on a social construction of that which is individually articulated. In  addition  to  these  three  basic  philosophical  stances  toward the function of language in the epistemic process,  most  of the other characters can be defined by the texts that they choose  to  use  UNDERSTANDING  glosses  as  in  reading  the  meaning  of  life.  IS READING works as the controlling metaphor so  that these characters operate metaphorically as readers, and the texts they select merit inspection. the  way  that  the  three  mates  all  Important to note here is look  glosses for their interpretive efforts:  to  visible  texts  as  Starbuck to Christian  symbols, Stubb to natural signs, and Flask to monetary markers. Their attempts to decipher the text of the doubloon demonstrates these  various  hermeneutic  approaches,  and  their  respective  places in the crew’s chain of command suggests the hierarchy of these approaches. When the first mate, Starbuck, reads the coin, he sees the Christian truth source  symbol  (442). of  of  For  the trinity Starbuck,  authority and  signifiers. demonstrated  the  and  observes  Bible  is  Christian symbols  a wise  still  the  the most  and  sad  primary  important  This reliance on Scripture as a source of truth is to  an  even  greater  degree  in  the  character  of  Captain Bildad, who is portrayed as a student of the Scriptures and a man who abides by the letter of the law.  When he talks  with Captain Peleg about Ishmael’s wages, he has his head in his Bible and keeps “mumbling to himself out of his book,” unable to  153 free himself  from the constraints  of print.  His unrealistic  wage offer reflects how out of touch he is,  and his perverse  literalness, Bible  as  parting  like Dimmesdale’s, source  a  gift  of  of a  suggests the inadequacy of the  truth.  Bible  Just  fails  as  to  his  save  sister the  Charity’s  Pequod  from  destruction, and just as Starbuck’s attention to only Christian symbols fails to save his life, so too does Holy Scripture fail to provide  sufficient gloss  a  for deciphering the enigmas of  life. When  the  second  mate,  Stubb,  reads  the  same  coin,  he  interprets it according to the zodiac and consults his almanac for the appropriate constellations. and he searches the skies for clues, sermon now, writ in high heaven” metaphor  is  reflected  in  the  For Stubb, NATURE IS A BOOK insisting that “There’s a  (443).  many  This same ontological  expressions  that  Ishamel  resorts to in describing the whale as a piece of writing. citing his credentials for composing a cetology,  he notes that  the whale—ship has been his “Yale College” and “Harvard” and  that  libraries” primary  his  experience  (135),  textbook.  was  gained  as  he  In  “swam  (115), through  implying that the whale itself has been his Other  expressions  used  in  reference  to  whales also reflect the WHALE AS A BOOK: thou Chilian whale, marked like an old tortoise with mystic hieroglyphics upon the back! (207) It was Moby Dick’s open mouth and scrolled jaw (550) how may unlettered Ishmael hope to read the awful Chaldee of the Sperm Whale’s brow? I but put that brow before you. Read it if you can. (358)  154 In this way,  UNDERSTANDING IS READING entails that whales are  written texts with marks that are to be read,  at the same time  that these marks are acknowledged to be cryptic.  The markings  on the whales’  exteriors are like “those mysterious cyphers on  the  pyramids”;  walls  of  they  are  ultimately  undecipherable  (315). Just as reading the marble tablets in the chapel does not explain  the deaths  of  the  sailors  lost  at  sea,  neither does  reading the living text of Moby Dick account for the tragedies surrounding him.  Although the “scrolled” quality of the great  whale’s jaw, as its “mouth yawned beneath the boat like an open— doored  marble  tomb”  imperial decree,  (550),  suggests  the  revelation  some kind of authorial account,  of  some  the creature  serves only as a marbled entry into death, not as an explanation of it.  Ultimately, the natural text,  like every other visible  text, is inscrutable--despite Ishmael’s taunt to “Read it if you can”  (358).  Even  though  the  “waves  are  storied”  reader is expert enough to translate their tales,  (270),  no  so that some  gloss other than the natural text is required. The  third  mate,  Flask,  looks  at  the  doubloon  and  sees  “nothing here but a round thing made of gold” and immediately translates it into the commodities it would buy, 960 cigars.  Here we have the mercantile view,  specifically, which uses the  marketplace as the source of authority; monetary worth is the touchstone of value  (444);  LIFE IS A PRECIOUS POSSESSION,  death is understood as the loss of that wealth 6.  and  In this view,  155 the whale is more of a product to be peddled and, in  the  nineteenth—century  Furthermore,  Flask’s  economy,  lowest  a  rank  commodity  in  the  like the book to  be  used.  chain—of—command  intimates Melville’s ranking of this economic view of life. In addition to the glosses of Christianity, Nature, and the marketplace,  a fourth text sometimes chosen is the human one,  where A HUMAN LIFE IS A BOOK. human  texts  that  are  “full  finally undecipherable. riddles” the  (129)  Ahab and Queequeg often serve as of meaning”  but,  like  the whale,  Ahab’s text is described as  “full of  and sinister where SIN IS A MARK, as reflected in  description  of  his  scar  as  “brand”/”mark”  a  (125).  In  contrast to the human author, some supernatural writer composes this cryptic text so that at one point “it almost seemed that while he [Ahab) himself was marking out lines and courses on the wrinkled charts,  some invisible pencil was also tracing lines  and courses upon the deeply marked chart of his forehead”  (200).  Here then is a human work in progress-—if only some Champollion could decipher the marks.  Queequeg is also portrayed as a text:  so Queequeg in his own proper person was a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume; but whose mysteries not even himself could read . . . and these mysteries were therefore destined in the end to moulder away with the living parchment whereon they were inscribed. (490) And text  like Ahab, on  his  what own  Queequeg writes  person,  so  that  sometimes when  he  replicates carves  the  certain  “hieroglyphic marks” on his coffin lid “it seemed that hereby he was  striving,  in his  rude way,  tattooing on his body.”  to  copy parts  of  the  twisted  Furthermore, the tattooing on both the  156 coffin  lid  “mystical  and  on  treatise  Queequeg’s on  someone could decipher  person  the  art  it  (490).  seems  to  attaining  of  Finally,  comprise  some  truth”-—if  only  though,  the human  text is inadequate as a source of truth because there is no one able  to  decode  it  successfully.  None  of  these  glosses  is  sufficient. Profound and Intertextual Silence  So we see that, as in the other three works in this study, UNDERSTANDING IS READING emerges as a controlling metaphor and reflects the disparagement of the visible text as a tempting, but inadequate,  source of truth.  Operating in tension with the  reading metaphor is UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING. the other three metaphorical designs, of Moby Dick, In  the  whale’s  breathing  apparatus  and  that  of  implies an admiration for the capacity of this  “profound being” to be silent. speak,  This ability to listen,  is associated with the natural world:  that the world is such an excellent listener!” Moby Dick,  like Ahab,  incommunicative. the  whale’s  incommunicable necessarily  However, head  a  void.  “happy  Unlike  they are characterized as  as the cloud of vapor which hangs and  which  contemplations”  mean  rather  (381).  is associated with silence.  Ishmael who is eager to articulate,  over  with  Ishmael calls attention to the fact that “the whale has  no voice”  than to  in the figurative scheme  NATURE IS A LISTENER more often than a speaker.  contrasting  humans,  However, unlike  In  is  indicates, fact,  “engendered silence  Melville  by  his  does  not  seems  to  be  157 addressing the  reader directly when he  states  between being silent and being profound: any  profound  unless  being  forced  living”  to  (381).  that  has  stammer  anything  In this way,  “Seldom have I known  to  something  out  an association  say  to  way  by  this of  world,  getting  a  silence is often associated with a  depth of thinking, and the mark of a profound creature is often that  it  sense  understands  enough  articulation, silent,  “But  to  that  be  then  quiet.  what  then  cannot  it  If  is  again,  only  there  what  understand,  to  has  and  “certain” say?  the  truths  Moby  whale  thus  Dick  to  has bear  may  be  say?”——when  nothing can be known for certain. Silence which  recalls  is  also used  Hawthorne’s  draws on the meaning of that this weaving Ishmael  are  in connection with weaving fabric  “text”  imagery  as  together  to  the  “weaving.”  imagery is noticeable  working  in  weave  way  images, that  it  The first time  is when Queequeg and a  “sword—mat,”  with  Ishmael using his hand as a shuttle and Queegueg his sword as a beater.  Here TIME IS A LOOM and HUMAN DESTINY IS A WEAVING,  with a warp of “necessity” and a woof of “free will”——all packed down  with  weavers  “chance.”  work  in  Noteworthy  silence  and  here  in  a  is  the  context  way with  that  these  “such  an  incantation of revery [that) lurked in the air, that each silent sailor  seemed  resolved  into  his  own  invisible  self”  (218).  Although their weaving is termed a “sword mat,” the association with “word mat” is worth noting, and the conspicuous absence of words calls attention to itself.  This silent weaving continues  158 until  Tashtego’s  sighting of  “unearthly”  sperm whales.  cry  alerts  them  In this scene,  to  the  first  the action and the  imagery work metaphorically to demonstrate how humans spin their (silent) reminds While  texts them  the  of  of  explanation  the  sailors  until  inexplicable  seem  to  be  some  forces  creating  supernatural that  an  surround  internal  force them.  text  of  explanation, the external text is created silently. Another cluster of weaving images is even more noteworthy in the way that it interrelates human and natural texts together with words. weaver.  In this figurative scheme,  God is portrayed as a  When Pip falls overboard and “is carried down alive to  wondrous depths,” he goes to where Wisdom “revealed his hoarded heaps”  and  spoke it”  sees  “God’s  (425).  foot on the treadle of  the  loom,  and  The syntax is noticeably ambiguous here with  no clear antecedent for the “it” that Pip spoke.  We are left to  puzzle over what weaving he saw on this divine loom, what “It” he  spoke,  and  how he  “spoke”  something visual.  We  are  left  wondering because even though Pip is privy to the divine text and even articulates it, he is called mad and no one attends to his words. This  weaving  later when Ishmael  imagery recalls  assumes “A Bower  even  greater  significance  in the Arsacides,”  which  provides a coda for both the images of weaving and of silence. Ishmael relates how a certain friend of his,  King Tranquo, had  created a kind of temple from the skeleton of a beached whale. In describing this unusual whale temple,  Ishmael tells how the  159 earth beneath ground  the skeleton was  vines  forming  the  figures on the weaving. were  all  part  of  the  warp  like a weaver’s and  The trees,  woof  and  ferns,  verdant pattern,  carrying air was active in the fabric,  loom with the  the  shrubs, even  and  flowers  the  and grasses the message—  as the sun served as a  flying shuttle weaving all the natural world together.  Although  the loom and weaving are visible, the divine weaver is invisible and silent.  The natural loom produces a lush fabric,  but the  creative project exacts a toll of deafness on its creator. This weaving metaphor provides an epistemic analogue to the process of making meaning and discerning it.  The creative force  behind the universe mechanically produces all visible objects without reflection or comment——like the ship’s carpenter——”by a kind of deaf and dumb, spontaneous literal process” (477). creative force does not hear human  inquiries  does  the  it  Moreover,  explain  its  workings  to  into truth,  earth’s  This nor  inhabitants.  mortals within this system are incapable of hearing  any explanations anyway.  The description here  where the forces are furiously at work,  is of  a world  and no one within the  world can hear the woven voices of explanation: The weaver—god, he weaves; and by that weaving is he deafened, that he hears no mortal voice; and by that humming, we, too, who look on the loom are deafened; and only when we escape it shall we hear the thousand voices that speak through it. The spoken words that are inaudible among the flying spindles; those same words are plainly heard without the walls, bursting from the opened casements. Ah, mortal! then, be heedful; for so, in all this din of the great world’s loom, thy subtlest thinkings may be overheard afar. (459—460) .  .  .  .  .  .  160 As it is in the skeletal temple, so too is it in the human realm where truth is inaccessible, so that we can only hear the voice of truth if we are outside the world of its speaker.  Since we  can only know and understand if we are apart from that creation, only death can bring true knowledge. Embedded in this woven imagery of the bower is a warning about the danger of thinking that either writing or speech can create understanding.  The imagery points to the temptation to  see the visible text as a creative force in itself.  Just as the  priests kept a flame going within the whale’s head in the bower to make spout,  it  look  as  he were  if  still  sending  forth  a  living  we humans sometimes mistake visible signs as the gods,  the creative forces, life’s text.  when they are merely idle participants in  Similarly, the speaking imagery reflects how there  may be communicative forces at work, but they are “inaudible” to us because we are too close to the sounds of truth to hear them. And by a curious synesthetic twist, what we see can deafen us. Pyramidical Silence and the Inadequacy of Language  The  combination  of  visual  and  auditory  imagery  in  the  weaving metaphor generates this mixed sensation of a sight that, though inaudible,  can communicate with us.  can  Furthermore,  signify.  hieroglyphic  exterior  like  markings  that  the  Though silent, pyramid  provide  with  clues  it its  but  no  solution, it is both significant and cryptic in its silence.  In  this  IS  way,  UNDERSTANDING  IS  READING  and  UNDERSTANDING  LISTENING combine to generate KNOWLEDGE IS SILENCE.  Although we  161 often take “understanding” and “knowledge” to be the same thing, I  a  am accentuating  emphasis  distinction between them here.  on its gerundive form,  With  an  “understanding” refers to the  process by which we come to know, just as reading and listening are language processes.  In contrast, “knowledge” here refers to  the product of this epistemic process, from  a  deliberate  cessation  in  the  just as silence results  language  As  process.  an  ontological metaphor, KNOWLEDGE IS SILENCE highlights knowledge as  a  distinct  identification  state that  of  of  being  aspect  of  and  thus  provides  the  epistemic  for  process  an when  there is a pause, when there is some ultimate moment of insight. Since these processes are continuous and recursive, the image of silence allows us to understand knowledge by perceiving it as a discrete entity. understand  the  While the two structural metaphors help us to process  of  coming  to  know  in  of  terms  the  processes of reading and writing, the ontological metaphor helps us to understand the result of this process in terms of silence. KNOWLEDGE IS SILENCE is reflected in a notable way in the description of the great whale’s mark of genius:  “Genius in the  Sperm Whale?  Has the Sperm Whale ever written a book, spoken a  speech?  his great genius  No,  silence” (356). and of Ahab.  is declared in his pyramidical  Pyramidical silence is the silence of Moby Dick  It is the result of understanding that we can not  understand.  Like  silence  the  marks  communicate it.  the  hieroglyphics  place where  on  knowledge  the is,  pyramid but  it  walls,  does  not  In the metaphorical scheme of Moby Dick, much  162 energy is spent demonstrating the inadequacy of language either to  investigate or to express truth.  Writing,  in the  form of  hieroglyphic texts, only records the mysteries; even speech, as represented by the way the many voices cancel each other out, cannot completely retrieve or express truth. and  voices  conflict  in  can  intimate  silence can demonstrate the result: that we can not know. investigation,  the  Half—articulations process,  but  only  the knowledge that we know  As a medium both of communication and of  expressed language  is flawed.  Ultimately,  the  only image that can satisfactorily help us structure the elusive nature  of truth  is silence.  To extend Burke’s  definition of  literary form in terms of arousing and gratifying desires, 7 the metaphorics  of  word  generates  provides the image to satisfy it: In  this  silence  scheme,  figurative  a  is  need  and  then  silence. the  auditory  counterpart  to  whiteness, where whiteness is the absence of color and silence the  absence  silence are  of  sound.  “full  At the  of meaning”  fullness and emptiness,  same time, and yet,  both whiteness and  in their  simultaneous  cannot be completely understood.  “It  was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled” Ishmael (189) because the whiteness represents both the presence and  the  blank;  inaccessibility of it  is  not  a  truth.  nothing,  but  It a  is  not  a  something.  void,  but  Whiteness  a is  terrifying because it represents the place where a recognition of truth resides, but where it cannot be reached. Similarly, pyramidical silence represents both the presence  163 and  absence  of  truth.  It  points  to  silence  a  substantial that it is curiously visible.  that  is  so  A phrase like “the  sounds of silence” indicates this same kind of auditory quality that  is  characterized  something.  In  this  by  the  metaphorical  imperceptible scheme,  presence  paradoxically,  of the  blanks and pauses represent the most meaningful clues we have, and  the  only  final  understanding  is  before the sphynx of the whale’s head: man!  the  voiced  one  by  Ahab  “0 Nature, and 0 soul of  how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies”  (321) The value of the mixed metaphor, as reflected in the phrase “pyramidical silence,”  is that it combines both the visual and  auditory  collapses  images  metaphors  into  and one.  structural metaphor, And  it  emerges  If  this  the  reading  collapse  were  it would be KNOWING  IS  and  listening  expressed READING  as  a  SILENCE.  is this oxymoronic metaphor of expressed silence which from  the  metaphorics  of  word  as  the  metaphor and one that deserves further treatment.  most  creative  Although used  most conspicuously by Melville, it operates in all four texts in this study and is the subject of my next chapter.  164 chapter 5 Notes 1.  Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale, p. subsequent page citations are in the text.  2.  Bruce L. Grenberg, Some Other World to Find: Negation in the Works of Herman Melville, p.  3.  Michael Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace, p. 128.  4.  See Sander Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Parent’s Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, p. xiv, for a discussion of Nietzsche’s view in The Will to Power “that to interpret a thing was to become master of it.”  5.  Richard Whately, Elements of Rhetoric,  6.  See George Lakoff and Mark Turner, More Than Cool Reason, pp. 29-30, for a discussion of this metaphor, LIFE IS A PRECIOUS POSSESSION.  7.  Kenneth Burke,  Counter-Statement, p.  135.  All  Quest and 108.  281.  124.  165  Chapter 6 THE LITERACY OF SILENCE  Expressed Silence  Thus far, my study of a metaphorics of word has focused on the  that  way  expressed  century  in  metaphorically  oral——functions American  texts.  written  language--both  (RATIONAL)  With  nineteenth—  selected  the  and  IS  UNDERSTANDING  READING and (INTUITIVE) UNDERSTANDING IS LISTENING designated as the  two  controlling  of  metaphors  word,  this  discussion  has  demonstrated how language processes serve as source domains for understanding structure,  I  epistemic have  processes.  Given  on  the way  concentrated  this  metaphorical  in which  speaking  imagery is aligned with intuition--the mode of knowing preferred by  this  culture——and  on  the  way  that  the  privileged place in this metaphorical system.  alluded to but  not yet accounted for and not as readily explained, Moreover,  a  However, another  significant aspect of this metaphorical action,  of expressed silence.  occupies  voice  is the role  it is the nature and use of  this expressed silence as a metaphor of word that I find most intriguing in the texts under investigation. Frequently  in the  subject texts,  attention  is  called to  silence and to the expressive quality of this silence, in which it seems to convey meaning.  the way  Noticeable is the way that  this silence does not seem to be construed as a void——a total  166 absence of language——so much as the presence of the absence of Furthermore, silence is often accompanied by literary  language.  as  functions  a  the  where  being,  marker  represents  silence  and  self  Since  speaking,  this  attends  regressively  IS  SELF-KNOWING  silence  a  of  self  TO  in both writing and and  its  satellites of  can be viewed as  the  READING/LISTENING  metaphor  structural  what  state  to  SELF-KNOWLEDGE IS  Metaphorically, then,  silence is a constituent  ontological metaphor  to  silence  attending  and  of self—consciousness,  state  a  CONSCIOUS  SILENCE.  self—knowledge,  of  knows about the self.’ SILENCE  Here  self—revelation takes place.  in which  contexts  related both the  reading and the listening structural metaphors. In identifying this silence metaphor in which silence and the self are involved,  I have replaced the word understanding,  which is used to express the reading and listening metaphors, conclusion of  I mentioned at the  As  with knowing.  last  the  chapter, understanding and knowing are often used synonymously, but I  am using them to describe a distinction that I believe  emerges  in  the  namely,  that  metaphorical  worlds  understanding refers  to  of  these  literary  texts;  an epistemic process  of  discovering truth, with knowledge as the resulting product, and that  conscious  transitory) conscious  knowing  refers  the  epistemic  when  knowing,  then,  to  refers  a  state  search to  a  of  (however  beina  ceases. heightened  The  phrase  state  self—consciousness where understanding and being merge.  of  I use  “knowing” here to call attention to the way that the metaphor of  167 silence emerging in these texts highlights self-knowledge.  In  this system, the image of silence is a way of representing both the epistemic process itself and those fleeting moments of self— revelation that are sometimes achieved. In order to illustrate how this unusual silence metaphor is realized in the metaphorical systems of each text, I have chosen a particular linguistic expression from each text simply as a way of distinguishing them: harmony  Walden——”a  from Nature——”mute gospel,”  inaudible,”  The  from  Scarlet  voice.. .which could not as yet find utterance,” Dick--”pyramidical  silence.”  In  all  of  the  from  Letter——”a  and from Moby texts,  silence  marks the knowledge of some particularly elusive truth regarding the self:  for Emerson, it is knowledge of the ‘God within’; for  Thoreau, of the potential for self-liberation in the company of others;  for Hawthorne,  for Melville, destiny. where  of personal passion and suffering;  and  of the limits of what we can know about our own  Important here is the contrast between a public logos  expressed  language  is  used  to  discover  and  articulate  truth and a private logos where expressed silence is associated with interior speech and is used to mark that inaccessible state of being where epistemic activity pauses and self—consciousness emerges. reading  Therefore, in this metaphorics of word, the process of and  listening  to  silence  operates  metaphorically  to  represent the process by which an individual’s epistemic quest merges  with  self—awareness:  READING/LISTENING TO SILENCE.  CONSCIOUS  SELF—KNOWING  IS  168 Furthermore,  it  silence metaphor  is  READING/LISTENING invisible  and  is  important to emphasize that when the  realized  TO  in structural  SILENCE),  hearing  it  terms  entails  something  (KNOWING  seeing  inaudible,  IS  something  prompting  an  interpretive dilemma that is resolved differently in each text. There is a progression in the figurative use of silence in the four subject texts so that the silence moves from being audible to being visible,  and the process of consciousness moves from  hearing silence to seeing silence.  In the first three texts,  the  silence  key  figurative  expression  of  auditory terms, as sounds of silence: INAUDIBLE,” UTTERANCE” However,  and all  “a  VOICE  .  .  highlight the  .  is  made  more  in  “a MUTE GOSPEL,” “HARMONY  which  could  auditory nature  not  as  of  the  yet  find  silence.  in Moby Dick, the silence is so substantial that it is  expressed  in  visual  terms,  as  solid  as  a  tomb:  “PYRAMIDICAL  silence.” The lexical categories used to express the silence in these key phrases also reflect this increasingly significant role so that  in  Nature  and  Walden,  adjectival forms: “mute” and  the  silence  “inaudible”;  is  expressed  in  in The Scarlet Letter,  it is evident as a verb: “could not as yet find utterance”; and in Moby Dick, “pyramidical plays  a  the  silence  silence.”  modifying  In  role,  is  expressed  its  lexically  adjectival  describing  a  form,  prominent  as the  noun;  a  noun:  silence in  its  verbal form, the silence plays a more central syntactical role, providing  the  action;  and  in  its  nominal  form,  the  silence  169 achieves ontological status——naming an entity. these  text—specific  closely,  I  expressions  to  want  establish  of  Before examining  expressed  certain  silence  observations  more  about  the  Johnson,  and  nature of expressed silence. ‘The Semantics of Silence’  Although the experiential theorists Lakoff, Turner  do  continue affords  not to  a  address  rely  way  on  of  silence  their  as  a  metaphor  treatment  discerning  the  of  per  metaphor  systematic  way  functions conceptually in a metaphorics of word.  Se,  i  will  because  that  it  silence  By focusing on  the use of silence as a metaphor, I mean to suggest what its use indicates about the reading and listening metaphors as well. As Jeff Verschueren has noted,  silence is a “usually unnoticed  and rarely appreciated” kind of linguistic action at the same time as it is the most deserving of further attention because of what it reveals about the rest of the system. 2 metaphor of word, reveals  to what  Silence,  as a  is deserving of further attention because it an  extent  these texts  were  engaged with the  relationship between language and knowledge, especially in terms of self—revelation. is  meaningful  and  My main assumption about silence is that it that  it  accrues  multiple  meanings  as  a  function of its recurring use in various contexts involving the self.  As  I  examine  its  patterned use  in  each  text,  I  will  suggest how silence functions in a metaphorics of word. Before examining particular linguistic expressions of the silence metaphor in each text,  a distinction needs to be drawn  170 between the two main categories of silence under perusal here. I use “speaking silence” to refer to those situations in which words  are  used,  but  the  overall  effect  is  inaudible,  and  “unspeaking silence” to refer to those places where no words or sounds of any kind are evident. inner  speech,  when  the  active  Speaking silence operates as investigation  of  truth  seems  prominent; unspeaking silence emerges when a more passive state of knowing prevails. distinction,  However, it is important to note that this  like Vygotsky’s characterization of  inner speech  itself,  is a “fluttering” 3 one because the metaphorical effect  emerges  over the discourse and does not reside  linguistic unit. an  individual’s  in any single  Both kinds of silence reflect a private logos, epistemic status,  but they differ  in the way  that they emphasize either a time of active exploration or a state of being.  The overall rhetorical effect is that one kind  of silence influences another so that the relationship between language and knowing becomes associated with all silence. discussing  the  silence  in  each  text,  I  will  draw  upon  In this  distinction between speaking and unspeaking silence whenever it serves to clarify the metaphorical action. Emerson  indicates  his  inclination  toward  solitude  and  silence when he admits at the beginning of Chapter One that he is not solitary as long as he reads and writes and encourages his audience to retire from all linguistic contacts with others (8).  Later  on,  in chapter  seven,  he clarifies  the  value  of  silence when he advises that “Of that ineffable essence which we  171 Spirit,  call  he  that  thinks  most will  say  least”  (37).  In  calling for solitude and encouraging silence, he aligns serious thinking  with  “ineffable”  silence  spirit  and,  both  if  within  want  we the  to  natural  interpret and  world  the  within  ourselves, suggests that we would do well to keep still.  In the  metaphorical action of Nature, KNOWLEDGE OF THE INNER SPIRIT IS SILENCE  and  LISTENING seeking  SELF-CONSCIOUSLY  TO  SILENCE.  silence  is  Spirit that exists  KNOWING  For  akin  to  Emerson’s  THE  SPIRIT  INNER  translative  seeking knowledge  in both Nature and in the  of  IS  project,  that  divine  individual.  In  Nature, therefore, silence accrues positive associations in its link with the pursuit of knowing about the “God within.” Such  a  quest  understanding of  requires  a  regard  for  silence  and  an  its value—-an attitude which Emerson implies  when he describes looking out at the “silent sea” and taking in its  “active  enchantment.”  In  linguistic expressions  such as  this, unspeaking silence points to an interior calm in the face of an exterior “active” meaning. as  a  void,  meaningful  Emerson and  can  suggests even  language when he asks,  be  not  question,  re—form  for  that  more  silence  significant  can  be  than  vitally  expressed  “Was there no meaning in the live repose  of the valley behind the mill, could  Instead of portraying silence  me  in  and which Homer or Shakespeare words?”  With  this  rhetorical  he acknowledges that even though silence can not be  “re—formed” into words,  it is meaningful.  There is no need for  verbal action here; the symbolic action occurs in the landscape  172 itself.  He calls further attention to the significance of this  silent scene when he notes that “every withered stem and stubble rimed with frost, contribute something to the mute music”  (14).  Attuned to the expressed silence in Nature, Emerson can hear its harmony and urges us to listen,  too.  All of the natural world  is “contributing” to a concert that is curiously “mute,” and any observer who has the self—knowledge to understand intuitively can hear this  sound.  The muteness marks the poet’s intuitive  understanding——conscious knowing that cannot be expressed. kind  of  silence  provides  for  image,  an  then,  unspeaking  nevertheless, be heard.  is  this  silence,  a  paradoxical mute  sound  One  one  that  that  can,  Since knowledge of the inner Spirit is  not available to the individual through the traditional kinds of linguistic action,  it requires an unorthodox,  oxymoronic image  by which silence resonates and is heard. Moreover, humans  as  much  it  is  as  not  the  the  voice  interior,  of  silent  Nature  that  dialogue  instructs  between  the  Spirit in the natural world and the Spirit within the self.  The  Spirit  and  in the  beheld myself.  self  says,  “In  such as this,  I will speak to it.  In this exchange,  have  I  found  It can speak again”  (28).  speaking silence occurs so that the “I” and  the “it” speak as voices of the Spirit,  conversing in an inner  conversation and reflecting the soul’s active effort to realize its own divine self. self says,  It is from this silent dialogue that the  “‘From such as this, have I drawn joy and knowledge It can yield me thought already  formed and alive”  173 (28).  Highlighted here is the epistemic function of silence in  allowing the individual to know the Spirit;  normal  linguistic  action cannot adequately represent the influence of the “Me” on the “Me,” so silence works metaphorically to reflect this active process  of  self—awareness.  And  “Thus  is the unspeakable but  intelligible and practicable meaning of the world conveyed to man”  (29)  of word,  in terms of speaking silence. expressed silence provides  As  a way  a  singular metaphor  for  language——even  when it is expressed inaudibly in the form of speaking silence-to represent the epistemic process. For Emerson, silence is a useful figure in representing his distress over the inadequacy of language in translating the “God within,”  in  demonstrating  describe himself (37).  [God],  that  both  “when  we  try  to  language and thought  define  and  desert us”  As Emerson acknowledges elsewhere, “Good as is discourse,  SILENCE IS BETTER,  and shames it” --at least when it comes to 4  representing knowledge of the individual Spirit.  The challenge  of expressing this invisible and inaudible “God within” requires some image that is conspicuous in its absence; silence is just the image.  This need for something besides the usual modes of  discourse is evident in Emerson’s continual call for a kind of sixth sense. in Nature,  In describing the “integrity of impression” found  Emerson implies that it cannot be perceived by one  sense only and must be discerned by integrating the senses to form a single,  unified impression.  end of Nature,  Emerson insists that normal sight is inadequate  From the beginning to the  174 arid calls for a new kind of inner sight  (7),  a perception like  the sight of children by which the sun “shines into the eye and the heart” (9).  In rejecting mere sight, Emerson envisions some  kind of extrasensory ideal: The kingdom of man over nature, which cometh not with observation,——a dominion such as now is beyond his dream of God,—--he shall enter without more wonder than the blind man feels who is gradually restored to perfect sight. (45) In order to incorporate the outer and inner spiritual realms and experience the wonder characteristic of such perfect perception, Emerson  proposes  the  need  for  an  ability  to  receive  sights  interiorly, as if they were sounds——to see with an inner ear. This connection between visual and auditory perception is established more  formally  correspondences:  “The law of harmonic sounds reappears in the  harmonic  colors,”  in  providing  one  for  of  a  Emerson’s  more  resemblance  striking  between  the  impression created by sounds and that created by colors.  In  this  way,  musical  visual images. the auditory, Emerson’s  notes  can  be perceived  as  both  sounds  and  This synesthetic image, blending the visual and provides some relief to the tension prompted by  frequent  advice to use picturesque  language  at the  same time as he sometimes resorts to the language of silence. Sound, when portrayed as both a visible and auditory phenomenon, provides  a  way  for  silence  (as  the  absence  of  sound)  of  both  to  be  represented as both visible and audible. Such seeing  a  and  regard  for  hearing,  the often  simultaneous results  in  use  these  senses,  synesthetic  175 In the description of the silent  expressions involving silence. scene mentioned above,  there as  “From the earth,  imagery:  silent sea”  “mute music”  a  evidence of shore,  I  this  synesthetic  look out  into that  In this way, he calls attention to the fact  (13).  looks  that he  is  and  sees  silence.  in this natural scene,  And when he describes the he notes how each natural  sight contributes to its lyrical silence  Similarly,  (14).  the  natural flora create a visible timepiece that is also capable of communicating silently:  “The succession of native plants in the  pastures and road-sides,  which make the silent clock by which  time tells the summer hours, will make even the divisions of the day  sensible  to  a  keen  observer”  (14).  Here  visible,  the  natural clock silently “tells” the time to an “observer” who is capable of both hearing and seeing the silence. involves  The synesthetic  the simultaneous use of  quality of the  imagery even  sight,  and touch so that “The western clouds divided  hearing,  and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness” (14).  For the truly expert translator,  the “lesson of worship” provided by the natural world that a  superior kind of mixed sensory perception  is  (37)  is  required  “since every object rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of the soul”  (23), and such a mixed faculty requires a mixed metaphor. The  combined  visual  and  auditory  imagery  in  terms  of  silence works to define the superior sense that is required for perceiving the “God within.” remarkable nature  However,  of this perception  Emerson emphasizes the in saying that  “When  in  176  hours  fortunate  we ponder  mind and matter],  this miracle  the wise man doubts,  he is not blind and deaf”  (22).  [the if,  relation between  at all other times,  We are advised,  then,  that  this knowledge of the Spirit is elusive and reserved for those special moments and for those special people who can both see and hear  the divine  silence——for those mystical  humans are allowed to glimpse the the  silences  fortunate them.  in  are  Nature  those moments  Like God’s word,  instances.  seem  to  ‘God within’. be  when  moments when  under  humans  God’s are  In this way, control,  allowed  and  to hear  silence is divinely revealed in these  Emerson implies the sacred association with silence  when he advises that “All things with which we deal, preach to us:  What is a farm but a mute gospel?”  (26).  Here, unspeaking  silence suggests how every natural object conveys the intuited moral law, but these moral lessons are silent sermons and cannot be conveyed/received through usual linguistic means.  When the  individual experiences this awareness of the Spirit in the outer and  inner worlds,  divinely  no words are necessary,  facilitated.  Spirit  The  communicates with the Spirit  in the  for the process  in  the  outer  inner world,  is  world  and silence  marks these divine exchanges. Nature  is  represented  as  the  mouthpiece  of  the  “God  without,” the voice of the preacher, and its “muteness” requires an active receiver in the human ear, reliance sounds  on  the  human potential  articulated  through  for  natural  in the “God within.” attending to objects  is  the  This silent  evident  when  177 Emerson states that “Words and actions are not the attributes of mute  and  brute  nature”  and when he  describes  humans  as  different from the deaf and dumb nature around them” (28).  “far Only  humans possess the potential for seeing and hearing the homilies preached around them and within them because only humans possess the ability to be God-like and to know about the Spirit, and it is the human capacity both to be and know that Emerson praises. Therefore, order  to  humans need to resort to realize  this potential.  inner speech at times  As  the  epigram taken  in  from  Plotinus which Robert Spiller chooses for his Introduction to Nature states,  “Nature is but an image or imitation of wisdom,  the last thing of the soul; nature being a thing which doth only do,  but not know”  place here,  (1).  Nature is put in its epistemological  for it can “not know” as humans can, and it is this  human capacity both for knowing and for knowing that we know that Emerson cares so much about. This epistemic duality relies on the individual potential to  intuit  the  Spirit  independent  of  the  usual  sensory  information, a faculty which Emerson philosophically terms “the eye  of  Reason”  (30);  religiously  calls  the  “Supreme  Being”  acting from within (38); and poetically describes as the ability to  “tread on air”  (35).  While complete knowledge is reserved  for the mind of God, Emerson’s metaphorical scheme provides for those fleeting and “fortunate” moments when individuals can see and  hear  silence,  when the  Spirit  intimates  individual can simultaneously be and know.  itself,  and  the  While not all human  178 beings may possess the faculty to translate this mute gospel, they are sometimes allowed to hear it and should strain to do so. In  “The American  Scholar,”  Emerson echoes  need  this  for  attending to silence when he describes the ideal student: In silence . . . let him hold by himself. . . . He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds. He learns that he who has mastered any law in his private thoughts, is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated. 5 In  this  passage,  attending  to  confident  that  speaking  our  own  this  silence  silent,  reflects  interior  private  logos  is  the  idea  dialogues, primary  we and  that  by  can  be  can  be  translated into a public logos when necessary. Emerson further cautions the scholar that even though he distrusts at first the fitness of his frank confessions . . . the deeper he dives into his privatest secretest presentiment,——to his wonder he finds, this is the most acceptable, most public, and universally true. . . . This is my music; this is myself. (63) By  calling  these  talks  with  the  self  “confessions,”  Emerson  highlights the spiritual nature of these inner dialogues and the importance of this speaking silence. At the same time, by calling this private speech a musical version of the self, he elicits a correspondence with the “mute music” of the natural world. dialogue Scholar,”  with is  the  Spirit,  marked  by  This conversation of the self in as the  described same  in  lyrical  “The  American  quality  characterizes the movement of the Spirit in Nature:  which  “so shall  179 the advancing spirit create its ornaments along its path,  and  carry with it the beauty it visits, and the song which enchants it”  song, is  Just as the Spirit in Nature advances by means of its  (45).  it is our inner music that moves us along.  certain  that  the power  to produce  this  Moreover,  “it  delight,  does  not  reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both”  (10).  In  Nature,  the  musical  imagery,  presence  of  and  the  the  “God  within”  self—conscious  is  marked  by  recognition  this  of  its  presence is expressed by attending to the accompanying silence. In the next section, I will explore how this silent harmony also resounds in the metaphorical world of Walden. Like Emerson, Thoreau expresses a high regard for silence—— except that Thoreau urges that it be cultivated in the presence of others.  When he insists on the need for adequate space in  conversing  with  visitors  at  his  home  on  Walden  Pond,  he  underscores the need for silence in the company of others: If we would enjoy the most intimate society with that in each of us which is without, or above, being spoken to, we must not only be silent, but commonly so far apart bodily that we cannot possibly hear each other’s voice in any case. (141) In this curiously intimate exchange, the participants are urged to  sit  at  an  adequate  distance  from  one  another  and  to  be  silent.  Here,  unspeaking silence points to the epistemic state  of  that  exists  calm  Furthermore,  when  the silence  is  two  people  simply  a natural part of  “be”  together.  this  exchange,  since “speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing”  (141),  and silence for the pleasure of those who have  180 already heard, Of  who already “know.” interest  further  in  passage  this  is  the  way  that  speaking silence also operates so that the “intimate society” being enjoyed here refers to the relationship between the self and  the  self,  (emphasis  “with  added)  that  at  in  the  each  same  of  us  time  as  which it  is  without”  suggests  the  relationship between the self and another person. Thoreau seems to be describing an exchange where the individual is talking to himself in the presence of someone else. both kinds of  silence here  The effect of using  is to recommend an exchange which  allows the person the freedom to attend to internal speech while ostensibly attending to the external world. the  knowledge  silence  of  signals  this an  inner  awareness  liberated of  this  The silence marks  self, inner  and  hearing  freedom.  the  In the  metaphorics of Walden, KNOWLEDGE OF PERSONAL FREEDOM IS SILENCE and SELF-CONSCIOUSLY KNOWING PERSONAL FREEDOM IS LISTENING TO SILENCE. While  this  hypothetical  dialogue  with  its  metaphorical  implications might seem just a curiosity presented in Thoreau’s typically whimsical style, he also illustrates this same silent model with an example of an exchange that he sometimes had with a man who fished on a nearby pond. necessary space:  This situation provided the  The fisherman sat at one end of the boat, and  Thoreau at the other.  It also involved the necessary silence:  Because the fisherman had gone deaf, a  psalm,  while  Thoreau  sat  in  he would occasionally hum  silence.  While  we  might  be  181 tempted to think of this absence of speech as simply a pause in the  conversation,  Thoreau  emphasizes  his  admiration  for  its  unbroken silence:  “Our intercourse was thus altogether one of  unbroken harmony,  far more pleasing to remember than if it had  been carried on by speech”  (174).  In this passage,  unspeaking silence that is valued,  it is the  and it is the silence which  provides the pleasing harmony--intimating the epistemic calm of simply being. Like Emerson’s use  of  “mute music,”  Thoreau employs  an  oxymoronic image of silent harmony by which the individual  is  urged words.  to  hear  an  inner  silence  expressed  as  song  a  with  no  However, unlike Emerson, Thoreau does not need to retire  from other people in order to hear the soundless harmony.  In  fact, he suggests that our most intimate exchanges with the self can be made in the company of others——jr we listen to our own mute music.  For Thoreau,  silence marks the knowledge  individual potential to be free,  of our  and hearing this silence is a  way of representing the individual’s recognition of this power for  self—liberation.  Since Walden  centers  on  this  liberating oneself from the influences of others,  theme  of  it stands to  reason that silence in the presence of others is valued. Thoreau’s use of silence reflects his concern with a higher order of understanding than that which human language can convey and than that which most people can articulate.  While people  are capable of recognizing the extent of their personal liberty, most do not.  Instead of attending to their own potential, most  182 people work to exert their influence over others,  so that  The only cooperation which is commonly possible is exceedingly partial and superficial; and what little true cooperation there is, is as if it were not, being a harmony inaudible to men. (71) Here again, unspeaking silence in the image of a silent song is used to represent the self—knowledge that remains imperceptible to  people:  most  others,  being  free  means  resisting  the  tyranny  of  but it does not preclude cooperation.  Even  though  this  silent  truth  eludes  most  of  us,  the  metaphorics of Walden continually privileges a private logos by which the voice.  individual  attempts to hearken to an  inner,  silent  In recalling the incident of John Farmer who sits down  in the doorway of his house “to recreate his intellectual man,” Thoreau embodies in this character, who seems more mythical than real, a recommendation of the benefits of silent speech. is  described  hearing  a  voice  speak  to  continues to stay in such a mean life. the one unheard by the rest of the world, simple man tries to This anecdote  find a  him,  asking  Farmer why  he  Here the inner voice, speaks inaudibly as a  sense of his place  in the world.  is noteworthy in the way that Farmer represents  Everyman’s attempt to recognize self—worth via a private talk with  the  self.  Furthermore,  Farmer’s  inner  voice  is  characterized by that same pleasing, harmonious tone that marked Thoreau’s silent conversation with the fisherman: He [Farmer] had not attended to the train of his thoughts long when he heard some one playing on a flute, and that sound harmonized with his mood. . . But the notes of the flute came home to his ears out of a different sphere from that he worked in, and  183 suggested work for certain faculties which slumbered in him. (222) Significant,  too,  is  the  way  that  this  ability  to  hear  the  flute’s music in his mind represents a faculty which had been lying dormant, a “new faculty,” like Emerson’s extrasensory one. Once again, active  an attention to inaudible inner speech reflects an  epistemic  effort  and  results  in  an  harmonious  marked by a new understanding of the exterior world.  state  It is an  extraordinary kind of literacy which emerges in the imagery here and which allows one to listen to silence, as Thoreau describes a way of using language interiorly, so that there is no residue, no textual trace, only a silent harmonious tone——detectible only by those free to hear it. This same well—developed sense of hearing is evident in the march of the liberated person: If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. (326) Attention  to this  same kind  of  lyrical  sound,  no matter how  imperceptible it is to others, is what marks Thoreau’s own habit of singing.  When he is first building his house, he talks about  going on for days just singing to himself and “not having many communicable or scholar-like thoughts” sets singing to himself, more public logos,  (42).  a private logos,  like the telegraph.  In this way,  he  in contrast with  a  Significantly, he finds  this private singing so satisfying that he continues it for days at a time, while he dismisses human efforts to build a telegraph  184 from Maine to Texas as ridiculous because people “have nothing important to  communicate”  (52).  In this  scheme,  the highest  truths are expressed and recognized in silence, and “Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man  to  man,”  but  rather  by  man to  self.  In Walden,  public  speech lacks the harmony and, thus, the truth value of private, inaudible  speech.  This  association between  inner  speech and  honesty becomes even more pronounced in the metaphorics of The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne generates a metaphorical system like that created by Emerson and Thoreau which is characterized by a literacy of silence and which values a private logos.  However,  in contrast  with the metaphorical designs of Emerson and Thoreau who usually portray silence as a powerful lyrical force, the metaphorics of The Scarlet Letter reveals a silence which is equally powerful but  which  has  a  grim  sometimes sinister. silence  which  quality  Frequently,  marks  the  about  it--sometimes  it is a sobering,  realization  of  solemn,  unspeaking  unutterable  human  anguish——the voice of suffering which cannot be articulated in words.  Dimniesdale  describes  this  unvoiceable  pain  when  he  advises Chillingworth that no “uttered words” can express “the secrets that may be buried with a human heart” heart  .  .  .  must perforce hold them,  hidden things shall be revealed” (96).  until  and that  “The  the day when all  Only unspeaking silence,  expressed as “unsound,” can represent these secrets of the heart and can reflect the “unutterable torment” that people feel when  185 they  choose  (97).  to  While  silent  be  there  is  about their  an  insistence  passions on  or  their  articulation  sins  in  The  Scarlet Letter, there is also a need for silence because we must first be aware of our pain before we can verbalize it and before we can attend to it in others. presence  of  the  An attention to silence, to the  absence  language,  of  reflects  self—conscious recognition of personal suffering. human torment,  seem  Silence, like  is unutterable and yet expressive.  Furthermore, Walden  this  while the unspeaking silences  more  fortuitous  than  inspired than humanly motivated,  controlled,  in Nature more  and  divinely  these silences in The Scarlet  Letter are more often deliberate refusals to speak.  Despite the  many urgings to “speak out,” the characters continually resist speech.  In the metaphorics of The Scarlet Letter, genuine human  sympathy unable  calls  to  for  voice  an  ability  to  hear  others  their pain--an ability which  achieving a personal emotional integrity. unuttered suffering of others,  when  they  relies  on  are  first  In order to hear the  we must first hear our own.  In  the novel’s literal and metaphorical action, unspeaking silence often  signals  a  knowledge  of  this  personal  pain,  and  attention to this silence marks a self—consciousness of suffering, and  so that KNOWLEDGE OF PERSONAL SUFFERING IS  SELF-CONSCIOUSLY  TO/READING  SILENCE.  KNOWING In  this  PERSONAL  SUFFERING  metaphorics  language represents an understanding of  of  an  inner  SILENCE  IS  LISTENING  word,  expressed  “suffering humanity,”  and expressed silence represents the self—conscious knowledge of  186 the  suffering  self.  Fluency  prompted by such a literacy, emblazoned  letter of the  sound of private pain.  in  the  ‘tongue  of  flame’  is  a capacity for reading beyond the  law and for  listening to the  silent  Public eloquence is set in contrast to  private silence in order to demonstrate the novel’s resounding theme:  “be  To  true”  to  others,  we must  first  “be  true”  to  ourselves. This necessary sequence is indicated in a common pattern in the novel’s action, conspicuous  where vocalizations are often preceded by  silences.  The “revelation of the scarlet  letter”  emerges in those deliberate silences which reflect an awareness of personal passion.  In the metaphorics of the novel’s action,  unspeaking silences often represent times of emotional truth. For  example,  when  the  four  together for the first time,  main  characters  see  Hester and Pearl  each  other  look up to see  Dimmesdale and Chillingworth in the window above them, and “all these  four  silence”  persons,  (98).  old  and  young,  regarded  one  another  in  In this scene, even though no words are spoken,  some kind of active exchange takes place.  They did not ignore  one another; they “regarded” each other “in silence,” as if all four people are realizing the extent of their anguish  in the  company of one another at the same time as they are exchanging these  realizations  with  one  another.  The  silence  is  both  revealing and telling in the way that it accompanies an exchange of self—realizations. Because Dimmesdale’s guilt provides such an  “unspeakable  187 misery,” and thus cause for self—reflection, often the silences surround his actions and precede his public speeches.  Before  Dimmesdale goes forward to address Hester publicly for the first time, attention is called to the fact that he “bent his head, in  silent  prayer,  as  seemed.”  it  In  this  expression,  the  juxtaposition of “silent” with “prayer” suggests that Dimmesdale is speaking to God interiorly in an effort to come to terms with his  sin.  Hester  Then  sweet.” sin,  appears  proclaim  to  eloquence  he  is  the  to  name  incriminate of  noteworthy as he  her  speaks  himself  by  fellow—sinner, in a voice  urging  and  his  “tremulously  By the end of this scene, he does not confess his own  and  his  emotional  silent  truth  but,  prayer  apparently  rather,  reflects  does an  not  inner  result  in  struggle  to  understand his sin. In  his  second  appearance  on  the  scaffold  during  his  midnight vigil, speaking silence again signals an inner dialogue associated  with  the  imagines that he has below,  but  his  pursuit  of  emotional  truth.  Dimmesdale  spoken out to Reverend Wilson who walks  speech  imagination”; his silent,  is  soundless--”uttered  within  his  imagined utterance signals the effort  to recognize his dark secret even though he is unable to voice it aloud and  his  (109-110). attempts  at  Dimmesdale yearns to be true to his heart  “suppressing his  voice”  demonstrate  his  inclinations toward silence, toward privately acknowledging his sinful self at the same time as he tries to publicly confess his sin.  Noteworthy is the way his dilemma echoes the Calvinistic  188 bind:  To choose to articulate a sinful nature  human  free  will;  to  silent  be  about  it  is to suggest to  is  deny  human  depravity. So  is  it  silence  that  provides  epistemic  and  emotional  relief, for it marks those spaces of human understanding between the recognition of a sobering truth and the articulation of it. While Dinunesdale tries to be true to his own heart, he struggles to bridge the gaps between the times he recognizes his sin and the  opportunities  encounters  he  has  Chillingworth  vengeful  physician’s  anguish,  the minister  to  in  real  his  (159).  neither  his  study  identity,  stands  “white  hand on the Hebrew Scriptures, breast”  voice  it.  When  after  learning  instead  of  Dimmesdale of  the  voicing  his  and speechless,  and the other spread upon his  The unspeaking silence affirms the own  speech  nor  articulate his grim realization.  with one  the  written  sacred  fact that word  can  During this delay in talk, the  author interjects that “It is singular, however, how long a time often passes before words embody things.” truths them,  (the “things”)  The recognition of  exists before there are words to express  and pointing to the silence is a way of pointing to this  epistemic space and to the extent of it required before it can be embodied in words.  When characters are noticeably silent, it  is often because they are residing in this epistemic territory of self—awareness, and such knowledge sometimes requires a long period of residency. Silence also points to the way in which Dixnmesdale needs  189  time to recognize the depth of his love, while Hester is ready much earlier to acknowledge her passion. scene,  Hester  Dimmesdale  is  calls  described out  to  her  as  In the midnight vigil  moving  and  in  Pearl  silence.  to  join  him  When on  the  scaffold, she “silently ascended the steps,” and he felt “as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system” even though they do not speak to each other  (111).  The unspeaking silence here indicates a fleeting  state of emotional honesty, a state broken as soon as “the dread of public exposure” returns and Dimmesdale reverts to professing his  stock ministerial  line.  Although  it  takes  Dimmesdale  a  particularly long time before he is able to realize the nature of his own passion, in the  forest.  where they shared  a turning point comes when he meets Hester  They move back into the shadow of the woods,  sit  “without a word more spoken,”  unspeaking  silence  with  Hester  that  and  it  seems  is to  this give  Dinnuesdale the power to voice his suffering and to speak “with a deep utterance out of an abyss of sadness,” as he forgives her for  not  revealing  Chillingworth’s  identity  sooner  (140).  Conscious of his passion, he experiences “the exhilarating effect——upon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart”  (140),  and  the  excitement  of  returned from his interview with Hester, physical energy”  ascend the  feelings,  “as  he  lent him unaccustomed  (154), an energy which he sustains long enough  to make his public confession. Pearl  his  And when Dimmesdale, Hester, and  scaffold together  for the  last time,  we are  190 that  told  they  “remained  silent”--all  apparently  acutely  conscious of their private suffering (179). Along with these solemn silences are sinister ones as well. Most  notably,  often  the  portrayed  silences as  associated with  perverse  because  recognition of an evil heart. malign physician works to  Chillingworth  they  represent  With revenge in his heart,  are the the  “bring his mind  into such affinity  with his patient’s” that he can destroy it.  Operating here is  a perverse kind of intuition, by which Chillingworth responds to Dimmesdale “not so often by an uttered sympathy, as by silence, an inarticulate breath” (91).  This insidious kind of unspeaking  silence reflects the self—conscious recognition of heart,  a  person  who  relies  feelings——more  on  Chillingworth,  reflects  books  than  nor  does  he  on  human  his  thoughts  voices.  confrontation  a  blackness of his revenge, motive  more  a perverse than  Silence,  with  the  his for  terrible  and since he never abandons his evil  attend  to  the  suffering  of  others,  the  silences surrounding him remain sinister. In community  contrast  progresses  letter of the the  with  person,  Chillingworth,  from  an  initial  the  attitude  preoccupation  of with  the the  law to a compassionate regard for the spirit of and  a  change  in  the  nature  of  the  silence  surrounding the multitude demonstrates this emotional change. For example, when Hester is first banished by her community, the silence is expressive and hurtful:  “Every gesture, every word,  and even the silence of those with whom she came  in contact,  191 implied, and often expressed, that she was banished” (63). the  unspeaking  consciousness,  silence  reflects  the  multitude’s  Here early  when they respond only to the scarlet letter of  her sin and ignore the suffering of her heart.  However,  after  the eloquent voice of Dimmesdale ceases following the Election Sermon  the  crowd’s  response  demonstrates  change  a  of  heart:  “there was a momentary silence, profound as what should follow the utterance of oracles. tumult;  Then ensued a murmur and half—hushed  as if the auditors,  released from the high spell that  had transported them into the region of another’s mind, returning  into  themselves”  (175).  The  profound  were  silence,  momentary though it is, represents a return to the self, a self— conscious recognition by each heart of its own suffering (175). Striking is the way that the crowd is described as “auditors” here——listeners to their own silence. This silence  pattern  in  precipitates  the  story’s  vocalization,  action, works  where  pronounced  metaphorically  to  represent the way in which a state of self—awareness of personal suffering precedes an expressed sympathy with the suffering of others.  There is one particularly conspicuous instance of this  progression  at  the  climax  of  the  story’s  action.  When  Dilmuesdale takes his dying breath, the silence of the community precipitates their vocalized compassion: The multitude, silent until then, broke out in a strange, deep voice of awe and wonder, which could not as yet find utterance, save in this murmur that rolled so heavily after the departed spirit. (182) Aware of their own emotional vulnerability, the people struggle  192 to voice the sympathy they feel for the suffering minister, and the resulting This  sound is a strange kind of  almost—utterance,  halfway  “not—yet”  between  silence  utterance.  and  speech,  expresses the human attempt both to know and to articulate the unutterable  secrets that are buried  in the human heart.  The  people who heed the silent sounds of their own pain are  in a  position to hear the silent cries of suffering humanity. metaphorical  design  The  of  Scarlet  attention to silence reflects honest before we can know, can  say.  lapses  And  in  there  process,  this  representing silences  since  these  which  a  deliberate  this need first to be emotionally  as well as first to know before we are  often  silence  spaces.  are  Letter,  In the  is  Now  noticeable  emotional  metaphorically  we  in  and  will  examine  Hawthorne’s  epistemic useful how  text,  in  these become  predominant in Melville’s. The prevalence of unspeaking silence in Moby Dick reflects an overriding concern with a self—conscious sense of what we can not  know.  SILENCE  In  and  this  SELF-CONSCIOUS  READING SILENCE. death,  scheme,  KNOWLEDGE KNOWING  Specifically,  OF OF  PERSONAL PERSONAL  DESTINY DESTINY  IS IS  silence is closely aligned with  and an attention to silence reflects an awareness that  there are limits to what we can know about our own mortality. As a metaphor for living, whaling insists on a conscious regard for death.  The marble tablets in the Whalemen’s Chapel remind  Ishmael of this link between silence, death, and whaling: is  death  in  this  business  of  whaling--a  speechlessly  “There quick  193 chaotic  bundling  silence,  like death, marks a state of being where the effort to  understand stops,  of  man  into  eternity”  (39).  Unspeaking  and this set of relationships is represented  by the “pyrainidical silence” of the whale. Furthermore, this state of being seems to acquire an ironic epistemic elevation in this text,  so that being aware of the  limits of our knowledge is accorded more value than striving to understand. only  with  Full knowledge death,  and  of personal destiny  complete  a  articulation  is possible of  death  is  possible only with silence.  In this way, death is given primacy  over  given  life,  and  silence  is  primacy  over  speech.  This  determination is illustrated in the alignment of death with the pyramids and speech with the Tower of Babel.  In saying that “we  cannot give these Babel builders priority over the Egyptians” (156),  Ishmael  suggests  that death and  silence must be given  priority over life and language in terms of the knowledge they can afford us. silence,”  and  That this  is why  “the genius  “pyramidical  silence”  of the whale  is  is portrayed  as the  its  perfect epistemic state. I  use  “perfect” here  in Kenneth Burke’s  ironic  sense to  describe the linguistic inclination to seek ultimate states, to attain the fullest and most complete realization of a term, be “rotten with perfection.” 6  This perfectionist streak,  to  says  Burke, is the impulse to satisfy the human need to name, “a kind of  ‘terministic  compulsion’  one’s terminology”  (19).  to  carry out the  implications  of  We are moved by this perfectionism,  194 “in the sense of total language gratification”  (19), to succumb  to the lure of form and to take metaphors as far as they will go.  Therefore, by using the language process as a source domain  for representing the process of discovery, a metaphorics of word necessarily generates need for silence.  a place  for the absence  of  language——a  The metaphorical role of silence might also  be explained in Burkean terms as the principle of the negative, which is not a thing but an idea which calls attention to what is not there  (9-11).  As a negative principle,  the image of  silence insists that we notice the absence of expressed language and its metaphorical implications as well.  The result is that  silence emphasizes the realization that something expected is missing.  In the metaphorical system of Moby Dick, the recurring  silences  draw  linguistic  attention  action  is  to  the  associated  absence with  of  language;  epistemic  since  action,  the  silences also highlight lapses in the discovery process as well. By extending the associations concerning silence to their logical  and  metaphorics  linguistic  conclusions,  in which silence,  Melville  creates  a  as perfected linguistic action,  represents the perfected epistemic state at the same time as it represents death. negative, language  are  The meanings of silence,  always value—charged  processes  of  reading  and  extreme  both positive and states.  listening  With the  reflecting  the  epistemic processes of discovery, unspeaking silence represents the cessation of that discovery process. with death,  By equating silence  this design highlights epistemic limits.  The only  195 way to perfect our knowledge of death is to die; the only way to articulate our knowledge of death completely is to be silent. In  this  metaphorics  of perfection,  Melville  critique of current epistemic systems as well. Transcendentalism,  as  a  system,  is  reflected  intimates  a  The failure of in the way that  silence assumes a negative and sinister aspect, rather than only the uplifting, Walden.  For  spiritual association that it had in Nature and example,  when the  “sunken-eyed young Platonist”  falls from a mystical reverie from his perch on the masthead to his death in the sea below, he manages only “one half—throttled shriek” jerked mutes  before to  his  a  fatal  silence  death by his  bowstring  their  own  victim”  (162-163). line (575),  marks his fatal merging with Nature.  And when  Ahab  is  “voicelessly as  Turkish  the  silence  same  final  Here,  becoming one with  Nature and entering into the transcendental  silence has fatal  consequences,  so that a full realization of the transcendental  theme requires silence and death. Transcendentalism  are  Perhaps the difficulties with  highlighted  most  conspicuously  in  the  character of Ahab who mutely meditates on his relationship with Nature  and  then  pursues  his  obsession  with  a  perverse  individualism and evil self-reliance. Calvinism, figures silences,  of  too,  silent  Ahab  is  is portrayed as a  Ahab  voiceless  frequently described  perverse religious zeal. the Pequod,  and  For example,  failing Moby as  a  system  Dick. man  in the  Given driven  to  by a  after lightning strikes  Ahab proclaims his vow to continue his  obsessive  196  pursuit as if he were on a divinely appointed mission: know  that  thy  right  worship  speechless, placeless power”  is  defiance.  (512).  .  .  I  .  “I now own  thy  He even suggests that his  compulsion is part of God’s preordained plan when he asks, “What is it,  what nameless,  inscrutable, unearthly thing is it  making me ready to do what in my own proper, durst not so much as dare? lifts this arm?” human  free will  (546).  .  .  .  Is it I,  natural heart, God,  or who,  I  that  Here the Calvinist God who allows no  is held responsible  for Ahab’s crazed quest.  Similarly, Moby Dick with his “pyramidical silence” is aligned with the  Calvinist God  supernatural and whose  force,  actions  in the way that he  “not only ubiquitous, are held to be  is  described as a  but  immortal”  inscrutable.  (184)  In this way,  silence continues to possess its positive associations at the same time as it accrues negative features;  in the process,  any  system aligned with silence becomes problematic. In Moby Dick, silence assumes the same multiple meanings as its visual counterpart, whiteness. sometimes Jonah,  associated  Father  Mapple  with  the  stops  and  Like whiteness,  sacred. is  During  described  his  “as  turned over the leaves of the Books once more; and communing with God and himself” characterized by silence.  (49).  not  “have  profaned  story  he .  .  of  silently seemed  This divine dialogue is  When the crew is being presided over  by the mute Ahab at the dinner table, would  silence is  that  moment  Ishmael notes that they [of  silence)  with  the  slightest observation,” thus implying that speech is profane and  197 silence  somehow  experience “silent  sacred  standing watch  of  decks,”  “meditative”  (153).  he  When  describes  in the mast-head high  describes  state,  Ishmael  how  uninterrupted  the  by  above the  look—out  speech,  the  is  and  it  the  is  silence which provides the “sublime uneventfulness” (159). as  silence  provides  conversations,  the  “harmony”  in  Just  Thoreau’s  ideal  so too does silence here provide the sublimity.  When the white squid surfaces during the voyage, almost preternatural spread over the sea hush”  a  in  (282).  And  .  .  .  “  a stillness  in this profound  in acknowledging the devoutness of whales,  Ishmael compares them to the elephants of antiquity who often greeted the morning with their trunks raised in “the profoundest silence” silence  (388). is  In  aligned  many  with  instances  a  like  supernatural,  these,  unspeaking  spiritual  state  of  consciousness. However,  like whiteness,  with the terrifying. at midnight silent,  to  see  silence  can  also  associated  For example, the mariner who is awakened a  sea of  “milky whiteness”  superstitious  dread”  and  Unlike Emerson,  be  is  doubly  also  “feels  frightened  a  (196).  who gazed out on the silent sea and was only  consoled, Melville portrays a silence that is often tinged with alarm.  Frequently,  silence  invisible terror nearby.  accompanies  the  presence  of  an  Like the “nameless terror” that haunts  Ishmael from his childhood, wordlessness can be dreadful.  When  the  feel  crew  comes  across  the Albatross,  for  example,  they  uneasy and “in various silent ways the seamen of the Pequod were  198 evincing  their  observance  of  this  ominous  incidence”  (242).  Here, unspeaking silence accompanies their recognition of evil. These  sacred  and  terrifying  aspects  together in the image of the “weaver—god.” is  portrayed  without  as  regard  the deaf for  creator  the  voices  of of  silence  of  come  Here is a god who  the universe who weaves its  inhabitants:  “The  weaver—god, he weaves; and by that weaving is he deafened, that he hears no mortal voice”  (459). The weaving imagery represents  a world where truth about our personal destinies is unavailable, a world full of silence and fury,  signifying nothing.  Here is  the Calvinistic God taken to the extreme, a God who mechanically weaves  the  fabric  of  life  and whose  ways  remain  inscrutable  because no one can hear the inaudible explanation “and only when we  escape  through  it  it”  shall  we  hear  (459-460).  So  the it  thousand that  is  Nature has taken an ironic turn in the  voices  the  “mute  that  speak  gospel”  of  imagery of Moby Dick;  instead of the unspeaking silence representing recognition of the divine spirit within the individual, the silent text/weaving metaphor  encodes  the  certain  uncertainty  that  is  divinely  created.  then,  Part  of  is  that  the  terrifying  sometimes  it  aspect seems  of  silence  in  both motivated  Moby Dick, and  random.  During the time that the crew is following Moby Dick,  Ishmael  notes how they are “allured by the perfidious silences” at the same time as they choose to wait in stillness: Few or no words were spoken; and the silent ship, as if manned by painted sailors in wax, day after day  199 tore on through all the swift madness and gladness of the demoniac waves. By night the same muteness of humanity before the shrieks of the ocean prevailed; still in silence the men swung in the bowlines; still wordless Ahab stood up to the blast. (239-240) The  sustained  unspeaking  silence  is  at  once  deliberate  and  inevitable in a situation where words are useless in the face of an invisible, unknowable terror. will  always  elude  us,  the  Even though knowledge of death  silent  forces  of  its  mystery  seductively draw us in silent pursuit. Like mute humanity in the face of death, the whale is also characterized as silent at the prospect of impending death. watching the agony of a dying whale, striking feature of its voicelessness:  Ishmael  comments  In  on the  “The fear of this vast  dumb brute of the sea, was chained up and enchanted in him; he had no voice”  (364-365).  In the face of death,  neither human  being nor natural creature can articulate its mystery; both can only  exist  secret, Moby whale  like  silent  pyramids,  but unable to reveal it.  Dick, is  however, born  is  that  tongueless,  constitutionally  silent.  In  and  closer  to  its  What distinguishes Ahab and  their and  closer  silence  Ahab other  is  is  inherent.  described  words,  their  as  The being  sense  of  epistemic limits is more natural than learned, a characteristic that is marked by a silence,  accompanied by a strange humming.  For example, after Ahab has called his crew together to post the  gold doubloon,  he stands “without speaking  .  .  .  without using  any words was meanwhile lowly humming to himself,  producing a  sound so strangely muffled and inarticulate that it seemed the  200 mechanical  humming  of  the wheels  of  vitality  in him”  (165).  Ahab’s pervasive silence demonstrates his almost total existence in  state  a  limits.  of  self—consciousness——fixed on his  own  epistemic  The humming, which had a lyrical and spiritual quality  in Walden, here reveals the neglible humanity left in Ahab, the  muffled  quality  of  his  speech  demonstrates  attempts to articulate his knowledge.  his  and  feeble  Like the weaver god who  weaves in a humming kind of silence, Ahab seems to be involved in both a creative and yet doomed pursuit of truth. Another aspect of the complex nature of the silence in Moby Dick  is  states  that of  both death and  being  where  some  silence kind  of  are portrayed consciousness  as  active  continues.  When Ishmael first visits the Whalemen’s Chapel, he is aware of this kind of active silence: A muffled silence reigned, only broken at times by the shrieks of the storm. Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable. The chaplain had not yet arrived; and there these silent islands of men and women sat steadfastly eyeing several marble tablets. (36) As we  contemplate death,  at  some point we  are  left with the  silent and lonely realization that we can never explain it. “muffled”  quality  of  the  silence  here  reflects  the  The human  inclination to want to voice some explanation of our grieving at the  same time  as we  look  futilely to past  explain the enigma of death.  Ultimately,  human attempts  to  “silence reigns,” and  we are left with the knowledge that we can never know and with the intimation that both silence and death involve the presence  201 of some active consciousness and not just merely a void. While this knowledge of our epistemic limits is haunting, it also has a curiously calming effect. crew  behead  a  whale  and  go  below to  For example, after the dinner,  the  silence  is  reassuring: Silence reigned over the before tumultous but now deserted deck, an intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea. (320) As in the earlier chapel scene, the  situation,  and  reassures  the “silence reigns,” controls us  simultaneously.  Here,  the  awareness of our epistemic limits is described “unfolding” like a blossoming lotus and, despite  its  like “measureless” truth which exists  lack of visual traces,  this “noiseless” knowledge  exists despite the absence of audible cues and prompts a sense of  peacefulness.  portrayed  as  a  Furthermore, state  of  this  being  noiselessness came Ahab alone,”  so  unspeaking that  sure,  it  a knowledge of the is  comforting  in  into  is  this  suggesting that this state of  consciousness can be deliberately entered. represents  “up  silence  Even though silence  inability to know anything for its  certainty.  In  Melville’s  “perfect” scheme, this knowledge of our epistemic limits is the only “certain significance,” and it is a state of consciousness that each person must enter into alone. Expressed Silence and a Private Logos  Although  traditional  rhetoric  has  always  stressed  the  relationship of the speaker to an external audience, we also use language  to  persuade  ourselves.  Even  in  the  fourth  century  202 B.C.,  the rhetorician Isocrates refers to this self—persuasion  when he says that “the same arguments which we use in persuading others  when  we  deliberate in  speak  our own  in  public,  thoughts”  we  employ  (emphasis  also  added)  when He  .  we  calls  attention here to a private logos, the power of interior speech, and its potential for assisting the epistemic. process.  In the  metaphorics of word emerging in these four nineteenth—century texts, implies  the  use  this  of  silence  notion  of  as  a  a  metaphor  private  influence of an inner voice.  logos  for and  self—knowledge the  powerful  As a kind of “symbolic action,”  self—persuasion is described by Kenneth Burke as the “Rhetoric of  Address  (to  the  self—persuasion an  Individual  Soul),”  important kind of  and  he  considers  language use,  for  this “Only  those voices from without are effective which can speak in the language of the voice within” act  of  translation,  this  (39).  Resulting from a private  self—addressed  rhetoric  deserves  attention because it highlights the function of a private logos in both the discernment and articulation of knowledge. With speaking silence operating as a metaphor for an active discovery of self—knowledge and unspeaking silence working as a metaphor for a state of self—consciousness, a  metaphorics  of  epistemological speech, language  word  status.  to By  represent  highlighting  silence emerges in an the  individual’s role  of  inner  this metaphorical system emphasizes the value of using for  understanding  self—revelation, or  not.  whether  Furthermore,  as  we  publish  Melville’s  such  perfected  203 silence  illustrates,  expansive  the  silence  metaphorical  metaphor  system,  one  results  that  in  allows  a  more  for  the  representation of good and evil rhetoric, whether addressed to others or to the self. A Metaphorics of Word as Prophetic Striking  is  the way that this perspective  modern view of rhetoric as epistemic. action  as  metaphorics primary  figure  a of  word  purpose  for  as  the  an  Wayne  understanding: of  Booth  interrogation  points  of  logos  processes  as  processes, language  not  view,  8 exploration’. ” private  In  the  source American  both a process  .  persuade  ‘to  engage  addition  through the  to  use  of  a  rhetoric’s his  In  others in  for  writers  contemporary  the supreme purpose  .  to  preconceived  mutual  silence,  domain  and  .  this  highlighting  to  of  truth.  of  characterizing  be  but  these  as  in  action,  and knowing,” Richard Gregg  “From this perspective  rhetoric would  epistemic  understanding  discussion of “symbolic inducement quotes  By employing linguistic  representing  promotes  forecasts the  inquiry  the  value  by using  structuring  evince  a result  a  or of  language epistemic  perception  and thus  a  of  extend our  understanding of knowing as both a process and a result. It  worth  noting  writers,  language  itself  relative  to  states,  is  a  prevailing  that  for  assumed  these  nineteenth-century  metaphorical  conceptual  framework.  significance As  Kittay  “an expression is not metaphorical in an absolute sense  [but]  only relative to a given conceptual organization”  204 in which certain ideas are considered “salient for that language community”  (19).  community, but  also  For  this  nineteenth-century  language  language and knowing were not only preeminent topics inextricably  linked.  Just  as  Nietzsche  has  been  applauded for his “anticipation of the twentieth-century focus upon language”  as well as “his almost prophetic statements on  rhetoric’s relation to knowledge,” 9 so too should these American writers be acknowledged for their even earlier forecasting of these themes. Given this prophetic view of language, it is not surprising that Kittay has remarked that “with the notable exception of the Romantics,”  pre-twentieth—century  metaphor merely  as  nineteenth—century epistemic, metaphor  as  metaphorics  it a in  perspective on book as  a  stylistic  writers’  follows  that  cognitive which  a privileged  they  language  symbol  adornment  implied  device  epistemology.  thinkers  and  (xi).  view  would  is  have used  regarded  Given  of  also  thus  imagery  have  these  language have  as  regarded  constructed  a  to  a  provide  Just as the voice replaced the in the  culture,  so  too  does  the  voice replace the book as a privileged symbol in the symbolic system of the literature.  The remarkable achievement of their  metaphorics of word, especially with its provision for silence, is that it points to the inadequacy of language at the same time as it prompts a confidence in its power and a reverence for its mystery.  In  this  system,  ascertain or establish truth,  language and  it  can  never  is this very  adequately inadequacy  205 which makes language such a useful figure for representing the process of knowing. and  in  its  By using language——both in its presence  absence——as  a  metaphor  for  extend our understanding of both domains.  truth,  these  writers  206 Chapter 6 Notes 1.  See Grosvenor Powell, “Coleridge’s ‘Imagination’ and the Infinite Regress of Consciousness,” for a discussion of how Coleridge’s metaphysical system provided for self—consciousness (the state of being and knowing) as the highest state, p. 277.  2.  Jeff Verschueren, What People Say They Do With Words: Prolegomena to an Empirical-Conceptual Approach to Linguistic Action, p. 74. See Verschueren’s discussion of silence verbals (“silence verbials” or “verba tacendi”) and how their mere presence reflects the predominance of orality in the discourse, pp. 83 and 119.  3.  See my chapter one, p. 14, for a discussion of Vygotsky’s description of inner speech.  4.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles,” The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, v. 2, p. 184.  5.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Collected Words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, v. 1, p. 63.  6.  Kenneth Burke, Language as Symbolic Action, p. subsequent page citations are in the text.  7.  Isocrates, Nicocles in Isocrates, translated by George Norlin, V. I, p. 81, lines 8—9.  8.  Richard B. Gregg, Symbolic Inducement and Knowing; the Foundations of Rhetoric, p. 8.  9.  Sander Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Parent, Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, p.xviii.  16-18.  All  A Study in  207 BIBLIOGRAPHY LITERARY PRIMARY:  Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin: Calvin, John. 2 Trans. Ford Lewis Battles. Eds. John T. McNeill et al. Westminister Press, 1960. Philadelphia: vols. The Life and Opinions of Sartor Resartus: Carlyle, Thomas. New Ed. Charles Frederick Harrold. Herr Teufelskrockh. 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