Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chesterton's Destabilizing Writing Style

By Edward Yuen
  Chesterton's destabilizing writing style in his critique on Darwinism uses the reporter's tool of building trust with readers. This method was done through minimizing biases by not making judgmental statements, using common allusions and witty languages and lastly carefully structuring his work to build trust with reader before criticizing.

   Writing as a reporter, Chesterton presents one suggestion after another for each issue discussed. Unlike Darwin who uses absolute languages, Chesterton writing style of destabilizing presents known information in a fresh way, through coming up with hypothesis. Like most newspaper, information is presented to the reader without any judgemental statements, going straight to the information. Chesterton brings up his arguments and leaves the conclusion up to the reader to make. While Chesterton himself was already in support of one side of the argument, when there are ideas that he wishes to challenge, Chesterton did not out rightly label the opposing idea as false as fundamentalists would, but would call it probable.

   Chesterton's writing style of destabilizing is done through using references of known works of that time such as the Greek witch from Iliad and the odyssey. Frequently using a story telling style with lots of imageries to allow readers follow his writings and making it easier for readers to see his hypothesis. Probably through his experiences as a reporter he knows that imageries does get people's attention. Throughout the work, Chesterton builds a relationship with the reader to gain their trust which is essential for reporters to have if they want their reporting to be read and considered. He uses play on words, repetition and juxtaposition of similar words in the same sentence such as 'evolution and revolution' and describing cavemen as 'not only an artist but a naturalist; the sort of naturalist who is really natural.'. This does raise the question of whether he is trying to presenting himself as more credible through his witty usage of words instead of the evidence presented.  

   Chesterton's destabilization approach to critique evolution does have an element of wit, taking the readers through dispelling the biased picture of the cavemen, building up trust between the reader and Chesterton first. Chesterton upholds the confidence of the readers toward his credibility and objectivity through his carefully working reminding the readers the initial idea of violent males being coexistent with his idea of cavemen being artistic. It is later on when some amount of trust has been built, Chesterton begins to critique Darwinism using analogies from the previously established examples such as his argument against how animals are not doing what humans are doing and the idea of art as a differentiating factor. Both ideas if presented straight on may be difficult for readers to consider and may be more likely to be rejected as it opposes to Darwinian's idea of nature not advancing in leaps. While Chesterton attempts to remove human from nature, his usage of images of animals doing human actives does speak well about his point about the gap between human and other species. While his points are valid on a social level, he did not address much about the other points of Darwinism such as on natural selection, death and accumulation of traits which are later supported by molecular genetics. The questions he rose questioning the leap and lack of art in animals still has not been answered by science yet.

   Chesterton's destabilizing style of reporting has through minimizing bias, usage of language and careful structure of work has made ideas that would be difficult to be considered be received by readers. This combined with his questions does make his work a formidable work of criticism toward Darwinism. 

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