The Voice You Hear Within
Oden 1 Jessica Oden
English Comp II
February 20th 2013
“The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently”
There are many works or art and literature that deal with one of the most intriguing and mysterious phenomenons in the world, the human mind. Like death, and the content of the heavens, it is a secret that can not be unlocked, and possibly the most personal and valuable secret. The mystery lies in the uniqueness of the individual brain with specific dreams and ideas that can not be copied or compared.
This constant inconsistency makes stunning the mind basically impossible. There could be rooms filled with charts, diagrams, studies, and experiments to due with the human mind, and probably are, but there is no control group and therefore no definite answer can be reached. Even if an answer could be found, what is the question? The human mind is infinitely and simultaneously complex and simple, much like the poems of Thomas Lux (“Thomas Lux”).
In Lux’s poem “The Voice You Hear When You Read silently” he attempts to corner and identify one aspect of the ever mysterious mind. That voice heard only in the mind. The voice that remembers everything, that reflects integrity or lack there of, and finally that explains the world to one person only, forever. The conversation between the mind’s voice and mind’s eye is an intimate one that can not be overheard. Perception is the transfer of information from the senses to the brain, and that ever present inner voice is narrating the whole process.
Everything seen, smelled, tasted, etc… is recorded into the brain, and this information provides the basis for the connotation of everything perceived from that point on, Oden 2 so that the perception of the world changes constantly and in direct relation to how much exposure there is to new and unfamiliar things. Therefore the voice of the mind is constantly growing and expanding and developing a character all of its own. This character of the mind is what Lux is harping on in his poem, by explaining that no voices can be the same.
He explains that this internal monologuer has the ability to see situations in jaded way and therefore the person will see them that way also. Chelsea Craig defined this phenomenon in a very accurate and descriptive manner: “This powerful and moving voice is enriched by my past, declares my present, and may even foretell what is to come. ”(Craig 3) She gave this comment after reading Lux’s work and ignoring it for some time (Craig 3).
When she revisited the poem, she found that it contained an inherent truth about herself and every other human (Craig 3). Where does this voice of the mind reside? It seems to be rooted in the subconscious, which is the area of the brain that processes our perceptions and makes them real ideas that we can call upon and that sometime reveal themselves randomly to us in flashes and dreams. When these ideas cross over from the sub- to the consciene, there is a voice there to explain it all to the perceive.
Lux refers to this part of the mind as a ‘dark cathedral” seeming to compare the human subconscious to a holy vessel of information that must be valued and cared for, and so out of this cathedral comes knowledge of a world that is difficult to understand even still. Reading is on of the best ways to stimulate the mind and feed your subconscious with the images and feelings revealed from the book. The feelings invoked my the writer, the images portrayed by the poet, are all decipher by a private, bias critical voice inside the mind.
This voice is very selective and controlling. It will take the information provided and run it through many filters before opening it up to the rest of your mind, which is does with bias and judgment and opinion. This may seem unfair, but a person directly controls what their subconscious observes by controlling how much Oden 3 of the world they are willing to be exposed to. The example that Lux gives in his poem to illustrate the differences in the mind from over person to the next.
The barn to one person could be a symbol of free time from kids running around an empty field with an abandoned building, that brings feelings of curiosity and intrigue from the children who saw it, to the parents of the children who see the barn as dangerous and ugly. The dreamers and seniors will have yet another idea of what a barn is. The expression Lux uses, “a sensory constellation is lit” explains how that voice takes in everything that is perceive by all the senses and makes since of them, like the figurative lighting of a light bulb above the head when an epiphany is reached or an idea is conceived (Lux).
The sound of the voice of the mind, though a figurative idea, is also important and directly related to the person who owns that voice. In the first part of the poem, Lux repeats the word ‘say’ in different forms, emphasizing with repetition that the mind can actually ‘hear’ this voice and that the tone of it reflects and illustrates the connotation of the words being ‘said’ (Lux). Each inner voice has its very own unique timbre, with its own unique accent derived from the experiences and actions of the person who conceived it.
The poet used a noun to explain this idea, but alluded to the effect of ‘stronger’ words of a sentence such as the verb or the subject. To take this part of the equations deeper, consider that the subject and verb makes the sentence. So to expand, if just the word ‘barn’ can mean so many different things to different people, look at the entire sentence. Such as, for example, “She was taken into the barn. ” This is a very simple sentence with neutral words, but the inner voice can interpret it as the actions of a hero or a villain.
On the one hand, a farmer could be carrying a pregnant goat into the barn to be warm while she gives birth, on the other a stranger could be carrying a young girl into the barn with evil intentions. None of this is given to the reader in the sentence and so this inner voice uses Oden 4 what it knows to guess at the meaning of the sentence. The point of this poem is to uncover some of the mystery of the human mind, but seems to only illustrate that fact that it is infinitely mysterious. There is no way to ‘hear’ another person’s inner voice or understand the conceptions of another entirely.
There are phrases such as “I know how you feel”, or “I can relate” that seem to imply otherwise, however these phrases are generalizations, and in and of themselves subject to the connotation given them by the inner voice. Does the person really understand or are they being sarcastic? Do they really have a clue what the other person is feeling? No, it is impossible to completely put their thinking cap on and hear the voice that whispers to them, interpreting the world and everything in it, individually for that person.
1.Works Cited Lux, Thomas “the Voice you hear when you read silently”. ed. Vivian Garcia Edgar V.
2.Roberts Lehman cCollege The City University of New York Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, fifth compact edition, Longman 2012 Print.
3.“Thomas Lux”. Poetry Foundation. Chicago, IL 2012 http://www. poetryfoundation. org/bio/thomas-lux Web. Craig, Chelsea.
4.“Slow Down to Hear Your Inner Voice” University of Wisconsin. 2012 Http://liberaleducation. uswa. edu/scholarship/2ndAnnual/Chelsea_Craig. pdf Web.