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Sharaai's picture

“American character is alive in syntactical breaks.” – Smith, pg xl


This quote really stuck with me after finishing Smith’s article and then proceeding to Cliff’s article. The idea of character being part of the “syntactical breaks” in our dialogue provokes me to think about the words and silence in everyday conversation. It also brings me back to yesterday’s first Silence class. Breaks are such an important part of conversation and they can greatly affect how dialogue impacts the listener. These breaks can occur because the speaker is thinking, the speaker would like for the listener to think or they simply need to rest their voice. A syntactic break can have layers to it and this is something that I feel shouldn’t be forgotten as we proceed through this 360 course. When speaking of voice, we cannot forget of silence and vice versa. And with this in mind, we cannot forget the affect the two have on each other and on those parts of the dialogue.


Smith talks about the reactions of audience members during the plays and how they would often be vocal about their reactions. Things such as “Teach,” ”All right,” and “Oy” could be heard throughout the play and she felt that they were speaking to her. Yesterday in class, when important points were made, many members would release an “Mm” in response. I know that I let these out when I completely agree with my peer is saying but I wonder what the speaker thinks about them when they hear them added to their voice? I hope we can become comfortable in class to let each other know in small ways what we think about what they’re stating.