Simplicity and the Art of Failing

Samuel Beckett, Writer

When Samuel Beckett writes, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better” in Worstward Ho! Beckett is saying that in order to achieve progress, we must fail. Looking at this superficially, one may feel as though that this is counterproductive to what it means to progress but in fact it is not because every time we fail we learn something and learning is always in the direction of progress. What Beckett has to say about failure matters because society has put this stigma on the concept of failure as being “bad” or something that is not suppose to happen or that failure should be avoided and this in actuality isn’t the case, we should all try and fail and try again and fail.

Samuel Beckett would use such simple structures in his works, to deliver his point in a focused manner. He’re trying to prove a single point, why is it necessary to add things to the sentences that are just going to take away from this point or cloud his position? The saying is true that sometimes less is more and this structure absolutely affects how we read this. If Samuel Beckett were to use question marks after the first two sentences I think that it would certainly grab the reader’s attention but it would also leave the reader to answer the questions in their head about if they’ve ever tried and if they’ve ever failed. Answering of these questions in one’s own head is leading the reader to be caught up in his or her own thoughts of these memories rather that focusing and continue reading Beckett’s point which is what having a period mark forces one to do; same thing with an exclamation point it almost doesn’t leave any room for the reader to mentally “wander off” in his or her own thoughts. For these reasons, I think the simple structure that Samuel Beckett uses to deliver his point is highly effective.

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