Commonplace 7

In Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho!, the author argues that failure is not necessarily a thing to avoid, and that there is a strength and substance to failing rather than succeeding. In his novella, Beckett states: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” These sentiments are incredibly important to many different populations, specifically students and scholars. Failing matters for these individuals, because without failure, one cannot truly find success. The form Beckett chooses to use to express his thoughts on failure is simplistic in nature, and intentionally so. The simple structure of the sentence highlights each point, regardless of the grammar behind the relationships between the independent and dependent clauses. The first three commands Beckett offers are all dependent clauses when followed by a period. Had Beckett used question marks or commas to integrate this grouping of clauses together, the flow would certainly be more cohesive. Yet the original structure feels like a war cry or mantra, specifically through the use of periods instead of exclamation points, question marks or commas. By not using question marks, Beckett is not questioning whether these things happen to individuals. The periods make these statements finite, stating that people have tried and failed unquestionably. Each clause is impactful and straightforward, changing the punctuation would make Beckett’s mantra questionable rather than explicit and strong.

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