“A Note on Stress” from Hass

Perhaps some of you are scansion wizards already, but my first attempt at our scansions did not go great. It was my first attempt at it on my own, so I can cut myself some slack, but I still hope to improve. I really enjoy analyzing¬† some of language’s most detailed components, but for now I sort of feel like I’m just guessing. This week’s reading didn’t necessarily provide me with an epiphany on how to scan like a champ, but I thought it was helpful to hear about the different ways stress is used. From pages 394-395, Hass outlines the reasons that stress exists on different syllables in words. As a writer and as a reader, I always try to image what words, characters, images, conflict, dialogue, etc. would look like and sound like either in real life, or as a movie/TV show. This is mostly because I like to think of language as a means of connecting with people.

So, I connected most with Hass’ analysis of “rhetorical emphasis”. While stress may be crucial to poetry, how stress impacts speech is more relevant in my life, outside of our workshop. The same words can mean different things in different contexts, and while this effect is present in poetry and prose, I think it’s best displayed in either real life or in movies/TV. Stress in everyday speech feels like it just happens naturally, so it was odd to give it thought and notice how I use stress and how those around me place stress on words or syllables.

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