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Vocation of Eloquence

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The last and final discussion that Frye has deals directly with the readers of society. Since writers are quite out numbered by readers, it makes sense that Frye would address some issues pertaining to society’s faults. Even though Frye’s job is critique literature, he explains that critiquing society is very closely related to literature. The Vocation of Eloquence essentially means the skill of beautiful words. This describes talks about the need for society to educate their imagination, so they are not fooled by society’s flaws and judgments.

Literature in of itself trains imagination, and training this imagination keeps an individual’s mind happy.

“Let us suppose that some intelligent man has been chasing status symbols all his life, until suddenly the bottom falls out of his world and he sees no reason for going on. He can’t make his solid gold Cadillac represent his success or his reputation or his sexual potency anymore: now it seem to him only absurd and a little pathetic. No psychiatrist or clergyman can do him any good, because his state of mind is neither sick nor sinful: he’s wrestling with his angel. He discovers immediately that he wants more education, and he wants in the same way that a starving man wants food. But he wants education of a particular kind. His intelligence and emotions may be quite well be in fine shape. It’s his imagination that’s been staved and fed on shadows, and its education in that that he specifically wants and needs.”

Frye explains that what his man thought he wanted ultimately meant nothing in the end. Ultimately his real need was creativity and imagination, and not some illusionary life that society portrays as happiness. These falsehoods are considered illusions; where for a lot of people are consumed by them already. Frye mentions in earlier talks that the imagination can detach us from reality, which explains people tolerance for violence and shocking imagery, but it also means that individuals can detach themselves from society’s illusions. But the illusions of society appear to be much more real, thus harder to detach from. Frye mentions that society presents substitution for a person’s imagination, and much of this are based on literary conventions. For examples



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