Profanity And Literature

Is it necessary? I think not.

I spend much of my time reading. I don’t read fast, I devour a novel. Almost everything published in our current era has profanity. In some there is little else. For years I’ve suspected profanity is a sign of illiteracy, having a vocabulary too small for the world he/she lives in.

James Fenimore Cooper bears that out in his book The Prairie.

I read four chapters of this book before going to bed last night. The protagonist, the trapper, and his friends have been captured by the Sioux. If ever there was a time for profanity this might have been it. But there is NONE. The man is able to express himself with the words found in any dictionary.

America seems to be growing more ignorant with each subsequent generation.

7 thoughts on “Profanity And Literature

  1. Scott says:

    How many times have I wished I would have said this or said that? Many. Here’s another one.

    In many cases a fictional character’s use of profanity doesn’t describe the character as much as it describes the writer.


  2. I had to quit watching some of my favourite stand up comedians because every other word was a foul curse word I couldn’t stand. I’m not adverse to an occasional swear word, especially if it makes the scene humourous, but those occasions are rare and too often books rely on profanity for sales. Honest to god readers who read “for” the story won’t and don’t require gratuitous profanity. It’s equivalent to gratuitous violence, of which we are inundated.


    • Scott says:

      I agree. We are letting our standards slip beyond reason. Fortunately, however, there are shelves of classic written by authors who had a grip on their vocabularies, Shakespeare, for one. Thank you for the message. It’s good to know that I don’t stand alone.


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