“Strange Power of Speech”: A Metaliterary Analysis of “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
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The notion of using words and stories as a means of self-defense is particularly fascinating to me given what I learned about my own dependence upon language. The idea of language failing fascinated me, because I depend upon it more than anything else in my life. The fact that my SIP’s thesis hinges upon the notion that language will inevitably fail to explain the big ideas, the experiences that really matter, terrified me, and as I wrote my SIP, I began to realize how much I was rooting for language to succeed, for the “Kubla Khan” speaker and the Ancient Mariner to tell their stories and poems and have them mean something. I discuss this further in my SIP’s conclusion, so I don’t want to spoil the ending. But I will say this: the process of writing my SIP, of using language to tell how language doesn’t work, was a fascinating, exhilarating, almost heartbreaking, and ultimately rewarding process.