Creative Criticism

Creative Criticism
The book I?m a Stranger Here Myself, written by Bill Bryson, is based on a collection of written articles. Bryson writes about everyday events and shows their negative qualities through whining or creative criticism. He attracts the readers? attention by writing ideas that relate to a normal persons life. His methods are very powerful because it attracts his main audience of common people through his simple vocabulary use and everyday middleclass situations. Also between his ?complaining? he throws in little jokes that make his stories entertaining. This makes the reader continue reading because it constantly grabs their attention. Another reason of why Bryson?s style of writing is very effective is because all of his stories have a main theme that gives a strong and important message to the reader. Some of these messages may be a little controversial to some readers but are very thought out and well explained.
Bryson main style of writing is criticism through complaining. His topics are what many people believe or agree with and have complained once or twice about. Bryson?s style of writing makes him very effective in grabbing the reader?s attention because many readers relate to his complaining. In the book Bryson complains about the rules and regulations and how sometimes they are overdone. One instance of breaking a rule was when he seated himself in an empty restaurant even though it had a ?Please Wait to Be Seated? sign. In this chapter he states ?There was no other customer within fifty feet, but that wasn?t the point. The point was that I had disregarded a posted notice and would have to serve a small sentence in purgatory in consequence.? (Pg21) Many readers would sympathize with the customer and agree with his actions, however if the exact situation would happen to us, we would probably ?Wait to Be Seated.? This is one of his many mentioned rules that the readers don?t agree with and question, but never act against them. Bryson stories are interesting because he challenges and conquers these rules. Another instance of his rule breaking was when he wasn?t allowed to fly on the plane because he did not have a picture ID. He also thought this rule was pointless and went against it by showing the flight clerk his picture on the back of his book. Bryson was allowed in the plane just by his book picture even though it was against the rules. He has a way of persuading people in his everyday life, like the flight supervisor or the waitress, and he uses the same persuasive methods to attract his readers.

Since Bryson?s book attracts a main audience of common middleclass people his ideas are about situations that the majority of his readers go through everyday. He describes these situations in a way that you don?t have to analyze too much to understand his point of view. Bryson?s style of writing is very simple and logical because his vocabulary is composed of mostly common words. This helps the reader understand every article theme and it does not make the reader reach for a dictionary after every paragraph they read. Sometimes Bryson makes fun of himself for not understanding difficult vocabulary. In one of his stories, What?s Cooking, he writes ?My wife and I went to a fancy restaurant in Vermont for our anniversary the other week and I swear I didn?t understand a single thing the waiter described to us.?(Pg14) These were Bryson?s comments about his waiter?s explanation of the restaurant?s menu. Like many other middleclass people Bryson also has trouble understanding technological terms. In another one of his passages he comments about his difficulties with a help line, which should be easily accessible and understandable. ?This, you see, is why I don?t call my computer help line very often. We haven?t been talking four seconds and already I can feel a riptide of ignorance and shame pulling me out into the icy depths of Humiliation Bay.?(Pg29) These are the exact feelings that many others go through when they purchase their first computer.

Bryson?s columns were written weekly in a newspaper filled with other important articles. Bryson?s book was made from putting all his articles together without making any significant changes. Reading his columns altogether nonstop could annoy the reader and make his stories seems redundant through his extensive complaining. The reason of why his book is a best seller is because he does not allow the reader to turn away. In his stories Bryson includes simple jokes and funny situations that entertain the reader. His method of complaining through comedy is known very well because it is also used by one of our well-known comedians named Jerry Seinfeld. In the passage Book Tours, Bryson says ?For the first time since I accidentally set fire to a neighbor?s garage in 1961, I began to think seriously about the possibility of plastic surgery and a new life in Central America.? This comment was made after Bryson was asked to appear on TV. This is an example of him including entertaining anecdotes with his articles. Another example of why Bryson?s writing attracts the reader?s attention is because of the amusing situations he puts himself into. In one of Bryson?s adventures to a drive-in movie theater he comments: "By the time we completed our toilet rounds, the film was half over and no one knew what was going on. It also turned out that the new speaker was even worse than the previous one had been. So I started the engine again, instructed the kids to hold tight to their drinks and popcorn, and backed out of our position. There was a horrible wrenching noise. ?You should probably put the speaker back on the post before you drive off,? observed Bradley sagely. You?re quite right, Bradley I agreed. ?Still, this cord might come in handy if I need to garotte anyone.?" (Pg192) With comical adventures like this it is very hard to turn this book away.

Although Bryson?s writing is made to entertain his readers, in many of his passages he also wants to educate and persuade his readers? point of view to match his own personal beliefs. Within his stories he clearly states, within his themes, very important messages that we Americans overlook sometimes. Jerry Seinfeld, a well-known comedian, commented on how the government has paid a lump sum of money to create a seedless watermelon but had rejected funds on other well needed programs. One of Bryson?s main controversial themes is the idea of government agencies, like the fbi being overpaid and " ? screwing up everything it comes in contact with."(Pg82) Some of these ideas are very controversial and may turn away readers, but in every occasion Bryson uses examples to back up his point of view. When Bryson commented on the fbi he said ?Occasionally its agents just made things up. In one incident, a lab scientist wrote an incriminating report based on microscopic findings without actually bothering to look through a microscope.?(Pg83) He also made controversial remarks against the Pentagon saying that it has lost many important files and that .?.. computer hackers successfully breached the Pentagon?s security systems 161,000 times.?(Pg81) The educated reader could change their views when they are faced with facts like this. Bryson?s ideas are well thought and supported by strong facts.

In conclusion, Bryson is an excellent writer that educates and entertains the readers through his complaint style of writing. He relates to the reader by writing about everyday events. Bryson writes his stories very clearly, which makes the reader have no trouble understanding his themes. His complaining becomes very interesting when they are associated with comedy and hilarious events. Another effective way Bryson?s book attracts the reader, is how he includes strong facts to support his controversial beliefs. With quick attention getters and great ideas backed by meaningful facts this book makes for great reading.

Creative Criticism 8 of 10 on the basis of 2925 Review.