Henry Lloyd Mencken's The Libido For The Ugly

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The English language has evolved over the course of time to be able to be utilized in an incredibly versatile manner. Words have started wars, ended lasting conflicts, and connected the ends of the earth together. It is the versatility of words that mold sentences into emotions, and writers into champions of the human psyche. Henry Lloyd Mencken, famed critic and journalist, wrote numerous essays and opinion pieces covering a variety of topics. One of his essays, “The Libido for the Ugly”, confronts the industrial machine encompassing America. In this work, Mencken employs a specific language to illustrate a negative connotation to the subject matter, evoking a critical and condemnatory reaction in the audience. The topic of the essay is the sheer ugliness and the apparent nigh-worship of it in Americans. Mencken approaches “the very heart of industrial America” with a…show more content…
He depicts the landscape as “so intolerably bleak and forlorn that it reduced the whole aspiration of man to a macabre and depressing joke”, the most noticeable words being ‘forlorn’ and ‘macabre’. The former word defined as “pitifully sad and abandoned”, and the latter as “disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury”. These words are quite powerful and effective in accomplishing Mencken’s intent. He calls back to the idea that Westmoreland County as forlorn by stating that this scene is incomparable to even the “God-forsaken villages of Iowa and Kansas”. He also emphasizes the ‘macabreness’ by the mention of the “malarious tide-water hamlets of Georgia” and the “eczematous patches of paint” covering the “uremic yellow” houses that litter the countryside. These terms, malarious, eczematous, and uremic, are all associated with human maladies, the disgusting illnesses used to underline the plague industry had

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