Good Writing…or Bad?

I just came across an amazing paragraph from Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces. His topic is “nobodies” – working-class people who live on the edge of poverty:

Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper.

Many English teachers would avoid showing this selection to their students: it repeatedly breaks the almost sacred prohibition against sentence fragments. But look at the elegant parallelism, and look at the new meaning that ordinary words like handicrafts and folklore take on: Suddenly we see the cultural bias behind them.

If only we could all write so elegantly and powerfully!

folk dancers

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