Only the dead know brooklyn by Thomas Wolfe

After reading “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn” I realized just how important and interesting language is. Actually I should say that context and how one pronounces words are very important.The reason why these things are so important is because the words used in this story are not proper English in any way shape or form.This is important because the story is still readable and makes sense and this is only true because i understand the context and the setting in which this story is based. I am not the only one who will understand the story in its entirety students,young people,teachers,professors in NYC and most people in the us will understand this story.However if this story was taken to Spain or France I firmly believe that since there would be no way for them to relate to the context the spelling would completely throw them off.This is significant because the words themselves¬† are not all that difficult they could be spoken aloud and that would provide clarity. The people who do have context would not think about it this way and the people without it would dismiss this story as rubbish.Just like how in the story the character thought that the individual talking about drowning was crazy because he did not know what the other guy meant by that.This to me shows just how important context is,this show just how powerful language is as well as how important it is.Finally this story was also interesting because it has me thinking about all my past everyday interactions with other individuals and as well as the writing i have done, was i really and truly understood? are any of us really and truly understood? are there words that we as humans use that could be added in or taken out of our everyday language that could promote complete understanding?

One thought on “Only the dead know brooklyn by Thomas Wolfe

  1. Jody R. Rosen

    What an interesting observation: that we can understand this story because the dialect isn’t too far off from our language, but that it wouldn’t be understood in another country. It leads to another question: how could this text be translated? What information would you need to have to translate this story into Spanish or French, as you suggest, to give the same impression in another language?


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