One of the most personal things we have for ourselves is the voice that exists in our mind. This voice has its own way to interpret or say the words depending on the personal experience. This is the theory presented by Thomas Lux in his poem called “The voice you hear when you read silently”. A poem where we can find an interesting debate.
In the beginning, in the poem, I can identify a presentation of a thesis. In the first sentences the speaker mentions “is not silent, it is a speaking-out-loud voice in your head” (Lux, 623) where he makes a statement that not because I am not reading out loud is necessarily a silent action, because inside our heads is this voice saying what I am reading. Also says that meanwhile in a literary sense the writer words are his or her voice, the sound of their words in our head is always going to be our voice (Lux, 623).
The speaker starts to develop his thesis mentioning some arguments through what we could say is the body of the poem. When the speaker says “caught in the dark cathedral of your skull” (Lux, 623), dark cathedral refers to that dark space we see or imagine where “our voice” resides.
This can be identified as an abstract diction because it describes an intangible condition. In addition to that when the speaker says “your voice heard by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts and what you know by feeling, having felt” (Lux, 623) is talking indirectly about our capacity of listening process and understand what we are reading helped with “internal abstracts” that could refer to abstract information saved in our memory that comes up while that internal voice is talking to this internal ear. In this way the speaker makes us see how our minds work in a metaphorically way.
The speaker develops a very interesting argument showing an example with the word “barn” when he mentions “its your voice saying, for example, the word “barn” that the writer wrote but the “barn” you say is a barn you know or knew” (Lux, 623) what the speaker means with this example is that as the voice you hear when you read silently is your voice, it comes with memories or experiences you have in your mind.
He also adds that our voice inside our heads is never going to be neutral (Lux, 623) because these memories and experiences will provoke emotions about that word whenever you read it. Furthermore, when the speaker says “so you hear the word loaded and a sensory constellation is lit” (Lux, 623) with sensory constellation her refers to all the elements, images, and situations associated with that noun that could appear as images in your head. If I had to give another name to that I would say is a brainstorm related to the word that is read making an image not only with what that word is literally but also with the details needed to make the image, complete visual imagery.
With this the speaker wants to make us feel how complex and important is this voice and these whole action of read silently, most of all when the speaker says “and “barn” is only a noun – no verb or subject has entered into the sentence yet!” (Lux, 623-624) like saying a noun is just a detail of what the voice you hear when you read silently can do.
In conclusion, this poem goes deep in a topic that is always present in our lives and makes us think from another perspective about our mind and how it works. The voice when we read silently according to the poem is our true voice. Moreover, this voice will be formed with our memories and past experiences so whenever we read something, in a specific word, our mind will react and we will say that word differently in our head than other people because of our past experiences with whenever that word is related.
This theory is very true that happens in our daily life, that’s why people react differently, no one will be always neutral. Finally, as the speaker says “the voice you hear when you read to yourself is the clearest voice: you speak it speaking to you” (Lux, 624) a final statement that is not going to change over the years because this is how it is whenever we read.