Taking it like Edgar Allan Poe in Criticism

It is hard to digest criticisms. Sometimes, it can plunge your inspiration, motivation, and determination to a gaping crevice of diffidence. But then in a tweak of mind to see a reality favorable to the growth of the mind,  it is mentally stimulating to receive constructive criticisms  in the form of thoughtful, intelligent comments on any of your work because it gives you a chance to see how others think about subjects or things you see in different and usually interesting ways. Edgar Allan Poe took even tougher stance on criticism:”In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.”

They might be disagreeable to your own opinion. In my case, reading a reader’s comment on my work is a form of information processing, giving me an opportunity to learn new things – also known as consilience, the unification of the understanding of one one principle and that of another – thus creating a synthesis of new viewpoint.

In light of the above, I find some of the comments I have received on my book reviews that I have so far published concurrently on Amazon.com scintillating in their contexts according to the individual weltanschauungs. I try to respond to such comments on my reviews only if they are legitimately sound, thought-provoking, and thoughtfully composed even if the commentator disagrees to my points of view, such as the following one I received from my past book review on Breakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux,  a book on homelessness based upon the author’s own brief spell of living in his car with his canine companion until witness to humanity was finally manifested to them. Poe was right. In response to any feedback that does not read affably favorable, my confidence should be ironclad, my conscience armed with reason clear and just even with dissenters.

xenia10 days ago
We are NOT all responsible for homelessness in this country. As is evident from this book, many people are homeless because they have untreated substance abuse problems, many are veterans who were deserted by government agencies which are supposed to help them, some have mental health issues, and some all of the above. There are also some, like Richard, who were quite irresponsible in life while they had very comfortable living, and did not have enough common sense to think about “rainy days”. Also, let’s not forget that one of the greatest causes of homelessness in this country is the breakup of the family, yes, divorce and people just “leaving” and everyone pretty much thinking just of themselves and their own “happiness” and not willing to sacrifice for other members of the family.

Thank you for reading my review and leaving me your comment thereon. My agreement and disagreement to your opinions on homelessness are as follows:

Yes, you are right in pointing out that there are substance abusers, neglected veterans and family members, and the mentally afflicted who become homeless against their will. But some of the homeless are the middlings who used to eke out a living by working hand to mouth without long-term job security despite their willingness to work at a low wage.

Apropos of your point on a weakening family value, the big issue of our society is a dissolution of a family, which is the basic unit of any civilized society. Accordingly, my assertion of collective responsibility as members of this society ensues from the increasingly prevalent disintegration of families without moral obligations and ethical standards.

What I mean by our collective responsibility is , therefore, our disregard for losing touch with the values that keep families and a society together. As for Richard, if his children would have asked him to move in with them, he would not have been homeless. Yes, he was responsible for himself in the first place, but he did not have to be homeless should his children give him a helping hand. Let’s not forget what Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “Charity begins at home.” Hope this helps.

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Stephanie Suh

I write stuff of my interest that does not interest anyone in my blog. No grammarians, no copy editors, no marketers, no cynics are welcome.

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