A Nonwritten Text is Worth a Thousand Words




I do not have much artistic ability when it comes to many forms of artistry outside of the written word. While I acknowledge life is an artform, even that form I often struggle to shape into the image I’ve constructed in my own mind. My photography skills are second rate at best, my drawing skills crude, rudimentary, novice, (insult other self deprecating remarks here), but, I can write. I can pose questions and provide analysis using twenty-six letters and however many punctuation marks exist, minus the exclamation point, for I’m never that enthused.

Kevin Roozen points out in his article “Texts Get Their Meaning from Other Texts”, Not to be confused with Dryer’s “Words Get Their Meanings from Other Words”, that readers can draw upon nonwritten text to enhance their understanding of a work. The example used in the article, Winnie the Pooh, highlights how children may draw upon other images they’ve seen, of bears, for example, to gain a richer understanding of the text.

While this example is good, and clearly emphasizes the point that Roozen is making regarding nonwritten text, this concept immediately made me jump to another story, one I hated as a child, but love as an adult: The Little Prince.

Our narrator, a pilot who crashed his airplane in the desert, meets The Little Prince, a charming creature seeking a bit of wonder through explorations and through drawings provided by our narrator, who had had his artistic abilities stifled as a child by adults who confused his drawings of elephants inside of snakes as hats. It sounds absurd without the images provided, but makes sense inside of the context of the images provided in the story.

The story is not just enhanced through the pictures provided, but is in a way told directly through them as our narrator realizes both the significance of growing older and the importance of staying young at heart.

Much like our narrator, I do not have a hand steady enough to create beautiful visual imagery, but I can convey beauty through twenty six letters, a lot of thought, and the occasional period, and maybe make the photographs I take or the pictures I draw still worth a thousand words or so.


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