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The Haltman reading explores the way in which we must study and interpret the things around us. While reading this text, one of the most compelling statements was the fact that “we do not analyze objects, we analyze our descriptions of objects”(Haltman, 7). This saying, in particular, immediately brought my attention to the article “What Is A Machete, Anyway“, by John Cline. The article is based on a young man, carrying a machete – and develops into the social and legal outlook of the machete as being considered a tool or a weapon. I brought these readings together in order to apply the findings of the Haltman text and Prownian analysis, to the subjective piece of work that is “What Is A Machete Anyway”.
So, rather than analyzing the machete in itself, personal descriptions immediately take hold – leading to further conclusions. In reading Haltman, it is found that the way in which one sees an object, in this case, a machete, is based on factors including description and experience. The lexicon used to describe a machete can largely affect ones reception of the object. In Cline’s article the machete is described as follows, “Like the longshoreman’s hook, the machete has a special place in the labor history.” There is an immediate comparison to danger, which, based on Prownian analysis is quite detrimental to the exploratory aspect of the objects interpretation. As for the machete, the immediate slight denounce of the object is what brings a negative outlook and/or preconceived ideas from the hook.
Haltman stresses observation and the importance of describing things in entirety – separating preconceived beliefs. “Description provides the bridge between the realm of the material and that of concepts and ideas…this is why the words we choose in saying what we see have such far reaching importance.” (Haltman,6) Rather than connecting the machete to something fearful – a much more nuanced vocabulary could’ve been used leaving the object free from bias and open to interpretation. The machete, in itself, is simply a tool – like many others that people receive and use differently.
It is unfair, whether unintentional or not, to impose feelings upon readers. In this, as a writer and researcher I have come to see the ways in which it is imperative to separate personal experience/feelings from basic description and interpretation. The Prownian Analysis brings forth a process of description, deduction, speculation, and research, that I will further use in my studies.
Prown, Jules David., and Kenneth Haltman. American artifacts: essays in material culture. Michigan State University Press, 2000.
Cline, John. “What Is a Machete, Anyway?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 21 Oct. 2013, www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/what-is-a-machete-anyway/280705/.