Thursday, July 14, 2005

The rest is silence

It's too soon yet to be thinking about the relationship between language and the appalling events in London last week, but today's Guardian carries both the truly remarkable speech made by Marie Fatayi-Williams in the intense grief for the loss of her son, and a moving analysis of its power. I post them here for when such a time comes.

Straight from the heart


At 11:27 am, Blogger Chorna said...

My analysis:

Marie's speech runs so deep because, I feel, yes- it was truth- but also, linguistically, it's incredibly personalised.

Anthony. We know "Anthony"'s and we can replace "Anthony" with any other name we want.

This name in the UK will also hold great significance because it sounds like a British name. If it had been someone called "Aziz" or "Sholeh" I wonder how it would have affected the total effect, nationally?

But the part that got me was how Marie spoke out- speaking as though it was her son speaking. "Mummy, I don't want to die, I don't want to die. I want to live, I want to take care of you, I will do great things for you, I will look after you, you will see what I will achieve for you. I will make you happy."

The word "I" is a very powerful word- whether we realise it or not, the second we say it out loud, it clicks psychologically that "I" directly links the reader to what they are reading.

Once Marie had made this part of her speech, readers/listeners had truly tuned in, and the words were reaching an emotionally roused audience.

In this way, at least from a personal point of view, this is the most powerful point of Marie's speech. She's linked us with her aspirations, with her son's aspirations. She's admitting she's human- that her son was human, and intimates that we are human, too, for we understand what "I" means- individuals; people.

Who hasn't had the desire to please their parent and/or be successful?? Or perhaps, less suggestively, once having read/heard that part of the speech, did you find yourself considering how to achieve such things?

I found myself rooting for Marie, found myself hoping her dreams came true- through Anthony.

It's fair and well to say "a mother's plea" but what really comes through this is Marie's capacity to get ANTHONY'S plea through to us.

And regardless of the genuine capacity of Marie's speech, linguistically, these techniques are powerful.


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