Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Strange Case of Self Competition

Most days I am Jekyll, sweet of character and kind to all,
But there is a Hyde waging war inside,
An inner temper and fight that seethes within,
like itchy lava pushing at the pores of my skin.
A restlessness that won't right until I fight,
But Jekyll shrinks to hurt a living soul,
So Hyde wages self-war in forms of self control,
Because the lava inside cools when sweat chills my brow,
Pound the lava through shoes on a street,
Dribble the lava into a ball on a court,
Ink the lava onto a page with a pen,
Grind the lava through pedals on a bike,
Punch the lava through mitts on a bag,
Slice the lava through laps in the water,
Sing the lava through keys on a piano,
Until Hyde slumbers inside his cooled skin,
And Jekyll comes to smile at everyone again,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why am I the Lucky One?

(I made the mistake of going to bed whining about things that in perspective were really dumb and trivial. And this was my dream.)

Why am I the Lucky One?

I dreamed I walked a road with another girl. She wore black. I wore green.
We talked and laughed until our road forked.
I got into my car and drove 12 hours to college,
She was shoved into a train and driven 96 hours to a camp,
I fumed and fussed at bad drivers and broken traffic lights,
She was licking her cracked lips and holding a broken arm, 
I told my Dad I was too tired to stay up and tell him about my trip,
She was told she would never see her Dad again.
I awoke the next morning to grumpily snooze a loud alarm,
She was woken by a rifle shot and an angry curse,
I opened my cupboard and couldn’t decide between cereals,
She was marched down a line to get a boiled turnip,
I worried about an unwritten essay and 70 pages of reading,
She was given a shovel to dig graves,
I complained about my boss and a few extra hours to work,  
She was afraid to slow down or her boss would shoot her brother,
At the day’s end,
I went home, wondering if my roommate's boyfriend would be over again,
She was marched to her bed, wondering if her roommate was alive,
I wondered why the radio station wouldn’t play anything good,
She was wishing she could hear music again,
I worry about impressing my date this weekend,
She was wishing the boy she liked were alive, 
I wished I weren’t out of eggs to make what I wanted,
She was handed one choice of old bread,
I forced my tired eyes to go read scriptures with a full light,
She was straining in the dark to read the one page of print she owned,
I went to bed with a roommate to wish good dreams,
She was holding a child coughing blood and praying he wouldn’t wake,
The next morning,
I put on my warm coat and grumbled about slogging in snow to school,
She was clutching at her thin shirt and watched her breath freeze,
I felt beaten by my professors’ criticism,
She was beaten to blood by her guards,
I closed my eyes and wished I weren’t at school,
She closed her eyes and wished she were in heaven.
I got into my shower and felt warm water, 
She was put into a shower and felt warm gas.
I left my shower.
She was carried from hers.
Two girls, one in black, one in green.
Both born with hopes and dreams.  
Both born under stars, hers a yellow pinned to her chest, mine on a flag, 
I am not any better than her - why am I the lucky one? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Potato Peeler

(Angela, this is for you. Some day I might finish it, but I wrote this much to make you feel better about peeling a ton of peaches.)

The Potato Peeler

I peel potatoes. Lots of potatoes. Why? Because I have a lot of brothers. Too many to count. Mom says there are seven, but I guess about a hundred. And they eat a lot of potatoes. I peel piles and piles and piles and piles and piles of potatoes. It gets pretty boring. But they keep eating piles and piles and piles and piles of potatoes. I don’t understand why that doesn’t get boring. But they never seem tired of it.

I get tired of peeling potatoes, so I don’t see how this is fair.

I like playing with potato peels though – drawing and arranging them into patterns and stories. No one ever wants the peels, just the potatoes. But I do. I have a big pile of potatoe peels in the backyard inside the hollow maple tree. I’m a very little girl, so I curl up just inside it really nice, although I always rip my dress on a root that sticks out by the door. Mom is really tired of sewing it shut, so she makes me do it now.

Inside I have lots and lots of kinds of potato peels. Some are squares and some are circles. Some are spirals and some are short pieces. When I peel potatos, I try to make a game and see how long I can make a peel. Once I even got the whole potato in one peel.

I also made a peel once that looks very like the head of my brother Frederick. I don’t have that one anymore though, because I showed it to Frederick and told him, and he got mad because he said his nose isn’t that big. So he ripped it up. Which made me mad, because it was a really cool peel.

One day, I am going to be famous, because I am going to take all my potato peel art and show it to everyone. And they won’t laugh at me.

Inside my tree hollow, I line everything up on the shelves. One by one I line them up, by kind and by size. When I want to make something, I draw a circle on the floor and build a world. It works well. There are some peels that make good people. And some peels that just make good walls or houses. I make the worlds I read about. They have princes and princesses and knights and horses and lots and lots of pretty things and no one eats any potatoes. I think it sounds like a really good place to be.

Sometimes my stories get really, really good, and I pick the pieces up really carefully and glue them onto paper from my notebook. I even painted some. And I put them in a pile in the corner in a plastic. There isn’ really a good way to hang them from a dirt wall in a tree. Besides, sometimes it gets muddy when it rains and then the paper crumbles up and makes a mess.

I don’t tell my brothers about the potato peel tree, because I don’t want them to laugh at me or rip it up. And they would probably do both.

Every day all my brothers leave with my Dad and are gone for hours. They come back pretty dirty, and they say I’m lucky to stay with Mom all day. I don’t really think so, because when I’m not peeling potatoes I’m usually washing the clothes they keep getting dirty every day. I told Mom there was no point in washing them when they come back just as dirty, but she said that wasn’t the point. I don’t know what the point is then.

Mom is short, thin, and gets mad pretty easy. Her right eye twitches a lot, and she says it’s a nervous habit. I asked why and she told me to stop asking questions. I don’t know why she is always nervous or what a habit is.

Once a week when Dad and the boys come home they bring a couple more big bags of potatoes. They bring other stuff to sometimes, but mostly I just remember the big bags of potatoes. I wish they would go away and never come back. I hate potatoes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Girl in the Yellow Dress, or the Ragamuffin Dreamer

(Angela, I'll keep this one going if you want, call me so we can talk about it, but this would be one where the girl would die in the end from a school shooting. I like the girl, but I have several different other pages of notes that take her and the story all over the place. Thoughts?)

The Girl in the Yellow Dress, or the Ragamuffin Dreamer

Have you ever woken up from a really weird dream and not known where you were? With funny sweat beads making your sheets feel gross and eyes that can’t see in the dark? And a strange sense of not knowing where you are? That’s kind of how it felt to walk into the Stravinsky household—constant chaos and confusion from lots of children and animals running around.

Serena Stravinsky was a short girl with big glasses, freckles, pointy ears, and crooked teeth that made it so she couldn’t bite down on an apple. She had a drawer full of what her mother called respectable clothing, but almost always wore her yellow dress with grass stains in the back. Her mother called it a rag, but she called it a play dress, and although she would change obediently when they drove to the library or the store, she was always back inside the dress when she got home.

She was the one kid who didn’t make a lot of sense to most of the other kids. Which didn’t bother Serena, but which worried her mother when her mother had time to worry.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” the teacher wrote on the board. All the kids raised their hands and talked about being doctors or construction managers or dancers or presidents of big companies.

“I’m going to be so rich that I don’t have to ever go into work unless I want to.”
“I’m going to be the world’s greatest dancer.”

Serena listened as the names went around the room, unsure why those sounded like fun.

“And you Serena? What will you be when you grow up?”

Serena hesitated, “I don’t know. But I want to reach the highest branch on my tree at home.”

“That’s very nice Serena, but I mean what do you want to do for a profession?”

Serena knew the teacher wouldn’t like the answer, because her mom didn’t ever either. “I want to find colorful rocks.”

The room bust into laughter until it withered under the teacher’s glare. “Oh a geologist! That’s wonderful!.”

Serena had no idea what she was talking about, but it seemed like a good answer so she nodded. “Yeah, one of those.” The teacher went on to Peter, to Serena’s relief.

“Psst, stupid, that’s a really dumb idea. Who wants to look for rocks?” 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sweating out Serenity

(Angela - This is the poetry that somehow won the BYU portfolio contest. I think it must have been subject originality, because I don't see as it's that good otherwise, but I had a lot of fun writing it.)

Sweating Out Serenity
Birthing Muscle
The sweat drips.                 
The muscles shake.
The arms quiver.
The stomach aches.
The nausea sours the throat.
The body holds the plank.
It’s not the first 2 minutes that muscle make;
It’s the 30 seconds past fatigue.
The sweat drips,
The time ticks,
I hold the plank.
I hear sweet words, “Time’s up!”
I fall.
I gasp from torn lungs,
I tremble with blood racing through my heart,
A new muscle is born.

Marathon Dialogue
Mile 1 - I believe in winning,
even when my gear is wrong -
Mile 2 - I believe in winning,
even when the finish is far off-
Mile 3 - I believe in winning,
even when some are passing me by -
Mile  4- I believe in winning,
even when it’s arctic, early, and dark-
Mile 5 - I believe in winning,
even when I’m hungry.
Mile 6 - I believe in winning,
even when my shoelace snap-
Mile 7 - I believe in winning,
                  Even when the hill never ends-
Mile 8 - I believe in winning,
                  Even when I’m falling far behind-
Mile 9 - I believe in winning,
                  Even when my tongue turns to sandpaper-
Mile 10 - I believe in winning,
                  Even when I'm hungry.       
Mile 11 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when my ipod dies-
Mile 12 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when I’m not yet half done -
Mile 13 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when so many run ahead-
Mile 14 – I believe in winning,
                                    Even when pit stops are all out of fruit -
Mile 15 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when I’m hungry.
Mile 16 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when shoes blister fire-
Mile 17 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when many miles are left-
Mile 18 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when fast runners have finished-
Mile 19 – I believe in winning,
Even when the sunshine leeches my sweat-
Mile 20 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when I’m hungry.
Mile 21 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when water runs out-
Mile 22 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when I want to give up-
Mile 23 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when everyone else has won-
Mile 24 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when sudden concrete peels my knees-
Mile 25 – I believe in winning,
                  Even when I’m very hungry.
Mile 26 – I believe in winning,
                  Even if I finish last-
Mile 26.2 – I believe in winning,
                  Because I never quit.

Calm with courage, to court disasters.

Sweat weaves courage from my muscles.
Fear sizzles out under the water of courage

Earky, dark, freezing
One Runner's Catharsis, or How to Clean a Heart

You run and you run. Until you can run no more.
Toenails blacken; muscles turn sore.
Lungs claw for air, heart hammering skin.
Your feet talk out the pain, until your voice is freed. 

Then you fall to your knees.

You pray and you pray. Until you can pray no more.  
Throat dries; voice turns hoarse. 
Mind pleads for release; heart yearning peace.
Your voice rambles out the pain, until your words are freed.

Then you fall to a journal.

You write and you write. Until you can write no more.
Fingers cramp; pages turn black.
Words pour into order, heart beginning release.
Your ink squeezes out the pain, until your tears are freed.

Then you fall to the floor.

You cry and you cry. Until you can cry no more.
Eyes swell shut; teardrops pour.
Body, spirit, thoughts, emotions run clear—
Peace floods your heart, until your self is freed.
                  Then you stand.

Your heart beats normal. Your heart beats sure.
You brace your heart and walk on, cleansed, ready for more.

Calm with courage, to court disasters.

Sweat weaves courage from my muscles.
Fear sizzles out under the water of courage

When is it Good Enough?

Juxtapositions Rainstorms Bring to Mind
Torrents of water, pounding into the earth,
Torrents of messages, pounding in my ears,
Torrents of thoughts, pounding  around my mind,
Torrents of music, pounding through my fingers,
Torrents of blood, pounding up my veins,
Torrents of feet, pounding out a dance, 
Torrents of hands, pounding with a rhythm,
Torrents of pain, pounding down my tear ducts,
Torrents of joy, pounding amidst my heart,
Torrents of words, pounding past my pen,
Torrents of peace, pounding all to stillness,
Torrents of love, pounded by nails to a cross,
Torrents of energy, pounding and shaping us into who we should be.

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Margaret Cavendish: Writing a Female Mode of Rhetoric in Blazing World

I realize this blog has been dormant for months. This is not precisely because I haven't been writing (because I still keep 3 journals going pretty strong), but mostly because most of my other writing seems more fitting to be kept in other places. I haven't written straight-up stories in awhile. I did write the proudest seminar paper in my life, and am going to prove my nerdiness by including it in this collection. The fact that it's the last seminar paper I will ever write sort of saddens me.  

Margaret Cavendish: Writing a Female Mode of Rhetoric in Blazing World
If the world of rhetoric wasn’t complicated enough in the seventeenth century, Margaret Cavendish’s own position as an uneducated woman attempting to enter in conversation with intellectual males in the seventeenth century added complexity to her rhetorical situation—a complexity seamed through her writing that leaves rhetoricians a knotty puzzle to tease apart in determining which rhetorical methods Cavendish advocated, what she actually used, and why.
Since its codification under Aristotle, rhetoric has alternated between the darling and the demon of the intellectual society—at times embraced as the key to unlocking truth through logic, at others rejected as the primary barrier to truth and honest communication. During the time of Cavendish, rhetoric was going through another “demon cycle”, where many seriously debated its place in communication. Religion, government, and science were all going through a “plain style” revolution, and many writers labeled rhetoric as a purveyor of deceit, rather than knowledge. Rhetoric has always struggled in definition, out of its sheer complexity, so a brief definition for this paper is helpful. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, but subdivides into the art of 1) creating arguments, 2) arranging arguments, and 3) delivering arguments. During the epistemologists in the seventeenth century, rhetoric increasingly came to refer to simply the “delivery” of arguments, and not a tool for finding truth (Robbins-Tiscione 45-50). Hence, when Cavendish used the vocabulary term “rhetoric,” she likely was referring to its stylistic function, and not its use for logical reasoning.
Most scholars studying Cavendish’s rhetorical style have focused on her rhetorical methods of “delivery,” or her stylistic choice. Scholarship has tackled the perplexing question of how Cavendish viewed rhetoric, whether she agreed or disagreed with her contemporaries on the “demonistic” function of rhetoric and whether she personally preferred the “plain style” touted by her peers. However, scholars’ discussion on Cavendish’s use of rhetoric has been limited to analysis of her stylistic structures, neglecting her use of rhetorical structure, or her methods of argument creation and arrangement. The question of Cavendish’s approach to rhetoric is incomplete when simply considering how she presents herself stylistically—it’s also important to examine how she advocates rhetoric persuasively.
A useful lens for exploring Cavendish’s rhetorical structure comes from Farrel’s theory of “male and female modes of rhetoric” in composition studies. The concept of male and female are not strictly gendered terms, but rather refer to different persuasive methods used with different audiences. The male rhetorical mode is a “direct” approach that views writing as a product of thinking and seeks to convey the mode as directly as possible. The female “indirect” mode begins with the assumption of a hostile reader, and uses more indirect reasoning, delaying a direct thesis until the conclusion. Writing in the female mode is seen as a record of thinking and a process for strengthening bonds between author and reader. As Farrel describes, “The female mode seems to obfuscate the boundary between the self of the author and the subject of the discourse, as well as between the self and the audience, whereas the male mode tends to accentuate such boundaries” (910). In looking at Cavendish’s Blazing World, it’s interesting to see that her rhetorical structure closely mirrors this described “female mode”—especially in light of her anticipation of a hostile audience. The relationship of Cavendish to her audience is a key point for understanding her choice of rhetorical organization and structure. To understand that relationship, this project will first look at the scholarly conversation on Cavendish’s vacillation between rhetorical styles and how that was influenced by her relationship to the Royal Society. Finally this paper will analyze the rhetorical structure found in Blazing World to argue that Cavendish, facing a hostile audience and trapped between her own views “against a linguistic elitism” (Nate 410) and her staunch anti-Royal Society position, chose to find her own rhetorical structure, making her one of the earliest female authors to write in Farrell’s indirect “female mode” of rhetoric.
Royal Society’s Rejection of Rhetoric and Advocacy for Plain Style
As mentioned, Cavendish lived in the rebirth of plain style, in the wake of the ornamentation that had laden Queen Elizabeth’s era. Where Humanism embraced rhetorical flourishes as a linguistic ideal, after the Restoration, scientists argued for a plain style. Scholars such as Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes rejected “rhetorical logic” as it could only bring “probable knowledge” (Robbines-Tiscione 48), favoring observation instead as a more empirical source. The Royal Society, in particular, advocated this style of writing in their dialogue. Thomas Sprat, in his History of the Royal Society (1667) argued to avoid “amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style” in writing, as they create “many mists and uncertainties” in “our Knowledge” (112-13). On the one hand, this distrust of elaborate style is reflective of the era. Stark noted that the correlation between “swollen styles and bad manners” matches to the sixteenth and seventeenth century anxieties about “excessive styles and social discord” (268), and Nate describes the Royal Society’s attitude as the “rhetoric of anti-rhetoric” that has cyclically re-occurred in European intellectual history since Plato’s rhetorical criticism of the Sophists (406).
An additional reason for the Royal Society’s adherence to “plain style” was their need to find a new style of expression for what was essentially a new method of knowledge acquisition—scientific inquiry by experimentation and deduction, rather than reasoned dialogue. Previous methods of composition typically were written for beauty and instruction, where the nature of the wording itself often held key points. Early scientists like Francis Bacon found that these models were not supportive of the method needed for their work. When the members of the Royal Society spoke against rhetoric, they were not talking about dumbing down their language. They were referring specifically to the use of figurative language and expression, and advocating a renouncing of deliberately used rhetorical figures. It was felt that such manners of expression were deceptive and cloaked real truth from ready access. In reality, the Royal Society was not arguing for an elimination of rhetoric, but rather a return to classical rhetoric that argued for perspicuitas as opposed to obscuritas, where elegant language is acceptable, but only as used to augment clarity rather than obscure the truth behind elegant display—an age-old complaint against rhetoric. As she began her writing, Cavendish walked into an already passionate dialogue on rhetoric—especially in relation to the Royal Society, who she was particularly vocal in criticizing. As she worked to enter the conversations of the seventeenth century intellectual community, Cavendish found herself similarly embroiled in making that decision for herself: Rhetoric—plain or fancy?
Cavendish’s Stylistic Dichotomy
Part of the reason scholars are divided on so simplistic a question as Cavendish’s rhetorical style is because Cavendish’s own writings on the subject are perplexingly contradictory. On one hand, her preface to the second edition of Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1663) proudly remarks, “It is Plain and Vulgarly Express’d as having not so much Learning as to Puzle the Reader with Logistica, Metaphysica, Mathematical, or the like Terms.” On the other hand, her forward to the biography of her husband, Life of William Cavendish (1667), suggests she liked things a little fancier:
I said again that rhetoric did adorn truth: and he answered, that rhetoric was fitter for falsehoods than truths. Thus I was forced by his Grace’s commands to write this history in my own plain style, without elegant flourishings, or exquisite method, relying entirely upon truth, in the expressing whereof, I have been very circumspect.
The two passages illustrate different points of her opinion, displaying perhaps her own confusion on how she really felt about rhetoric. Cavendish’s writings themselves display no one writing style—varying between plain and highly ornate throughout her writing career. This dichotomy has led scholars to set up opposing camps on Cavendish’s choice of rhetorical style.
Some scholars argue that Cavendish deliberately embodies a fancier form of rhetoric, in rejection of the Royal Society’s rejection of rhetoric, insisting that this is part of what distances her from the peers she seeks to engage with, and concluding that “Cavendish’s stylistic “indiscretions” damaged her reputation as a writer” (Stark 279). In contrast, opposing scholars argue that while Cavendish’s writings reflect non-conformity towards New Sciences philosophical matters, she did in fact conform to their rhetorical preference. In fact, Cavendish uses their stylistic approaches specifically to enter the conversation (Nate 416-17)—after all, to speak against a language, it’s best to be first fluent in it. While disagreeing on whether Cavendish preferred a plain or ornate style, all scholars credit Cavendish’s choice of rhetoric as highly influenced by her intellectual peers and potentially hostile audience.
Using the “Female Mode” to Diffuse an Audience
            Farrell credits the origination of the terms “male and female modes” of rhetoric to D’Eloia, and uses them in a full analysis on early female forms of literature to trace out D’Eloia’s theory. As mentioned briefly before, the distinction is primarily one of argumentative arrangement. The male mode typically presents the thesis or main point at the beginning of the argument, with the confidence that he will prove it emphatically by the article’s conclusion. In contrast, the female mode reflects insecurity of absolute opinion. The writer will lead the reader through a series of experiences and/or line of reasoning, not giving the conclusion until it is almost impossible to deny the emotional or logical validity of the claim (909). Gender is not implicit with the “male” and “female” modes, for some male authors use the female method, and some female authors use the male mode. Farrell notes that Queen Elizabeth, for example, wrote often in the direct, male mode of her peers (911). However, Farrell points out that the female mode did develop in trend along with the rise in female authors, perhaps as a defense mechanism from early female writers accustomed to addressing an incredulous audience.
            From that argument, Cavendish certainly fits the profile of an author likely to use the female mode of writing. Cavendish was actively attempting to insert herself into a masculine public sphere, particularly through the discourse of new science, and her writings were not positively received. Pepys famously wrote that he did “not like her at all, nor did [he] hear her say anything that was worth hearing,” and Charleton wrote to Cavendish that he was “unable to discover much” in her natural philosophy and advised that it should not be read publicly (Keller 449). This antagonism on the part of her readers made a direct approach less effective for Cavendish, as she was challenged to soften her readers in addition to relaying her point. The rejection of her earlier, more direct plain style prose pushed her then to develop a more indirect method, as can be seen in her key fictional work Blazing Word.
Blazing World: Simple Prose in Female Mode
When Cavendish writes Blazing World, she does seem to follow a definite female mode, one that allows her to explore her world without the interrogative of male thesis/antithesis, but one of indirect examination through observation. This can be seen in three key ways: 1) delayed thesis, 2) focus on collaborative reconciliation, and 3) interior complexity.
One of the most interesting parts of Cavendish’s writing is the difference in content from her introduction and conclusion. While very implicit and confident in her concluding note, her preface is couched more timidly and apologetically, skirting around her main objective as she declares it in conclusion. Her purpose—to give her own, authoritative version of natural philosophy—drips into the text in the forward, but is not implicitly stated until the final note to the reader, where Cavendish unashamedly declares her own genius. Cavendish seems sensitive to this because of her audience, aware that she is writing her traditionally scoffed-at views on natural philosophy. Though Blazing World is a fiction piece, it seems to be another attempt for her to enter the natural philosophy conversation. She is sensitive that her fictitious work could be seen as an ill or foolish choice for a serious discussion on natural philosophy. Hence, the preface becomes her excusatory discourse on the concept of fancy and using fiction as a vehicle for rational philosophy. She seems to anticipate resistance, almost apologizing for her genre selection before presenting her piece, as if anticipating resistance. She asks the reader to “think not that it is out of disparagement to philosophy; or out of an opinion, as if this noble study were but a fiction of the mind” (123). In contrast, her conclusion boldly states, “By this poetical description, you may perceive, that my ambition is not only to be Empress, but Authoress of a whole world” (224), which is a much stronger statement. The contrast highlights the principle of a delayed thesis, which is a key distinguisher of the female mode of rhetoric, where any purpose that might be there is not expressed until after the argument is fully established.
Cavendish creates heroines who focus not on destruction, but on collaboration leading to reconciliation. Part of the reason the plot seems frustratingly empty to some readers, is precisely because Cavendish avoids major points of conflict, creating instead a world “so well ordered that it could not be mended; for it was governed without secret and deceiving policy; neither was there any ambition, factions, malicious detractions, civil dissensions, or home-bred quarrels…but all the people lived in a peaceful society, united tranquility, and religious conformity” (189). Even in her concluding “war scene” where the Empress goes to save her country, the course of the war takes only 13 pages of the roughly 100-page narrative; the majority of her dialogue and action focuses on reconciliation. The action itself struggles somewhat, which Farrell notes is a characteristic point of the female mode. He explains, “Because the female mode does not lend itself to combat and closure as readily as the male mode, it does not rely as heavily on antithesis to structure reasoning” (919). Cavendish is more interested in reasoning, exploring, and creating than in creating narrative tension and resolution.
To the concept of interior complexity, Nate argues that Blazing World as a work is a failure because it lacks the male antithesis of a concrete point of plot or reason, he contends “Lacking narrative coherence and being devoid of any fixed point of reference, the narrative stands in sharp contrast to the principle of perspicuity that Cavendish advocated in her philosophical writings” (415). However, the truth is that Blazing World does have a point, but rather than one with “interior complexity” of a single thesis, as Farrell describes the male rhetorical mode (919), Cavendish builds a complex, differentiated whole. Instead of building a world for the purpose of holding a particular narrative plot, she builds a world with the purpose of simply understanding the full range of its complexity and complications.
Despite claims that her works are “just my own fancy”, it’s clear that Cavendish takes her own writing seriously and craves that approval from others. In her writing career, she vacillates between various writing styles in attempt to enter dialogue with her contemporary intellectual community. When her earlier writings are rejected by her intellectual peers, she develops almost a nervous complex towards her audience. Her later writings show her preoccupation with a hostile reception, and, carrying the stigma that women can’t write, she seems to shift towards new methods of argumentation—espousing this “female mode of rhetoric” in her work Blazing World. Cavendish  takes the reader on a journey, without first naming a destination, and it is only after arrival that her true genius is obvious. She manages to blend plain and fancy prose in an elegant basket to carry her natural philosophy to the reader in a new, indirect argumentation structure.
That Cavendish uses a unique approach—still decades prior to its adoption in mainstream composition studies—isn’t surprising. Cavendish famously prided herself on her singularity, shown in her every dress and action, even when at personal expense to her reputation. In her writings, she admits constantly craving feeling unique. As she expressed in Blazing World through her character the Duchess, “I endeavor to be as singular as I can; for it argues but a mean nature to imitate others; and though I do not love to be imitated if I can possibly avoid it; yet rather than imitate others, I should choose to be imitated by others; for my nature is such, that I had rather appear worse in singularity, then better in the mode” (218).

Works Cited
Cavendish, Margaret. The Blazing World & Other Writings. Ed. Kate Lilley. London:
Penguin Books, 1992. Print.
_____   Life of William Cavendish, Ed. C.H.Firth. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1906. Print.
Farrell, Thomas J. “The Female and Male Modes of Rhetoric.” College English 49.8
(1979): 909-21. Print.
Keller, Eve. “Producing Petty Gods: Margaret Cavendish’s Critique of Experimental
Science.” ELH 64.2 (1997): 447-471. Print.
Nate, Richard. “Plain and Vulgarly Express’d”: Margaret Cavendish and the Discourse of
the New Science.” Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 19.4 (2001):
403-417. Print.
Robbins-Tiscione, Kristen Konrad. Rhetoric for Legal Writers: The Theory and Practice
of Analysis and Persuasion. Washington: WEST, 2009. Print.
Sprat, Thomas. History of the Royal Society of London. Ed. Jackson Cope and Harold
Whitmore Jones. St. Louis: Washington UP, 1958. Print.
Stark, Ryan John. “Margaret Cavendish and Composition Style. Rhetoric Review 17.2
(1999): 264-81. Print.