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Different Meanings Of The Concept Of Invention

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The concept of invention can have many different meanings. When the average person thinks about the process of inventing something, they often think of a physical process creating an object. When looking further into it, we find that instead invention means to produce something for the first time through the use of the imagination or of ingenious thinking. (Merriam Webster). In the essays titled “Life in a New Language” by Eva Hoffman, “Basmati Rice: An Essay about Words” by Audrey Thomas, and“ Why I Write” by Joan Didion, the authors each have their own outlooks on the English language as well as their process of creating new and unique ideas. They each describe their reasons for writing and their specific styles in which they have honed over time.“Basmati Rice: An Essay About Words” talks about the abstract and abnormal phrases used in the English language. Audrey Thomas’ central idea is that words can be spread “beyond their proper boundary”(p. 15). For her, words are art. Her art does not have to abide by the rules of grammar or common sense. She toys and tinkers with them, expanding and altering their meanings. She also takes this philosophy and applies it to her daily life. Thomas takes phrases the average person wouldn’t even think about twists them around to give them new meanings. In a sense she’s inventing new concepts out of old ones that seem used and unnecessary. She’s unlocking new abstract meanings in words that lie within eyesight. There are hidden messages everywhere, and Thomas has the open-mindedness to observe and record them.

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Within our large world, we can find hundreds of different cultures, each of which have adopted their own languages and patterns of speech. These differences are what makes each of us unique and individual. However a negative ramification of this is that many cultures begin to feel a sense of superiority regarding their own, and a lack of willingness to jump ship and adopt a new perspective. Eva Hoffman shows this in her work “Life in a New Language”. Hoffman writes about being a Polish immigrant being forced to learn and write in a new language. She harbours a resentment for this due to being forced without her own say in the matter. English is a comparably difficult language to learn with its numerous rules and words that break said rules. After much resistance and adversity, Eva begins to become fluent and realizes that once she has practiced it enough and figured it out, it become easier to love. For Eva, she has unlocked a new method of invention. She finds that with a different language comes different nuances and methods of portraying emotions and thoughts. Compare her to the other writers who loved English from the beginning and you can see that Hoffman’s journey has given her a new outlook on the subject. In the end that is what makes her writing that much more unique.

Every writers has their own process of taking the first step and beginning to write. One way to do this is to ask yourself questions and respond to them within your writings. Joan Didion has adopted this method and used it in her piece “Why I Write”. She analyzes specific groups of people. Didion would pretend that she was a character and would write and think of questions as if she was in her writings. In a sense she would invent new personas to vicarious live through. Joan used writing as an escape from the shackles and norms from the real world and be able to control her own path.

These three writers each have their own stories to tell. They each have their own origin and backstory helping influence the style that they’ve each invented. They all view writing as a tool. The difference is how they use said tool. For some it’s discovery, for others it’s for escape but they all use it to invent stories for us, the reader.

03 December 2019

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