The other day in class we started reading a new book, called re: f (gesture). Inside this book of poems are abecedarian poems, which according to Merriam-Webster means “of or relating to the alphabet; alphabetically arranged”. The poems were set up in alphabetical order where the first sentence of every poem would be a new letter in order of the alphabet. After reading the poems we were placed into small groups and were to discuss what we read without using anything other than the book of poems itself.
Within my group, we keep throwing around some ideas here and there trying to pick apart the poems to see what we could exactly find. The next instructions within the group were to pick one of the letter poems and to discuss that poem. My group picked the letter “K” and we read the poem once again and started discussing what we thought it might relate to. One of the lines in the poem made us transition our conversation to Greek gods. For instance, “Hades would agree” (25). I was kind of confused about how one minute we were talking about this book of poems and the letter “K” to the next minute we ended up talking about Greek gods. I asked my group, “How did we end up talking about the letter K to talking about Greek gods”. Little did I know that question was the question of the day, and this discussion was about to lead us to that question.
Going off my question it got me to think, is alphabetical order really necessary? What exactly is the purpose of having alphabetical order if we just are going to end up going out of order anyway? The answer is structure, according to the Bedford structure is “often equated with form, the arrangement of material in a work, that is, the ordering of its component parts or the design devised by the author to convey content and meaning”. Having structure to the alphabet makes this more organized and easier to find. For example, if you want to look something up in the Bedford like the word structure you know that you have to go to the pages that start with the letter “S”. Having the structure makes it easier to find whatever it is that is needed to find.
With that being said, even though having structure is very useful there also seems like there is a downfall to having it. Using the example of how my group started with talking about the letter “K” to all of a sudden talking about the letter “H”, it seems that even if there is structure it can be broken in some way or another. Even in the Bedford, that structure is broken because if you go to look up a word it usually redirects you to another word.
It seems to be that structure leads to the organization, but that could also mean that the structure is meant to be broken. The alphabet is kind of just set up the way it is so it’s very organized, but more times than none that organization is just there to look pretty. Going back to my original example, it just seems like there really isn’t a point in the alphabet other than it just being organized.
That brings me to then think of when I personally use the alphabet, to see really how useful it initially is. Just like before when I couldn’t think of the word, I wanted to use. I knew it started with a specific letter, so I found myself looking into that section with the letter. It made it easier to narrow down my choices of remembering what the word could be.
Another example would be, in the beginning of the year, when professor McCoy was teaching how to go about our blog posts she told us that we can’t just jump to step “Z” we have to take it one step at a time which means starting from step “A” then going to step “B”. That made me realize that the structure of the alphabet can be helpful, for the organization of it but also helping with real-life situations. This is one situation that even if the alphabet is flexible you shouldn’t go out of order and keep the organization how it was.
The question I had in class, “How did we end up talking about the letter K to talking about Greek gods”, struck the question of why does the alphabetical order really matters? Until this moment I kept thinking there was an actual answer to the question I had, I feel as now thinking about it there necessarily isn’t. Yes, it matters for the structural point of view, and to have an organization but it also doesn’t matter. The alphabet is supposed to be flexible; it isn’t meant to be set in stone. That was proven in class when we started discussing the book we are starting to read, re: f (gesture).