“Leaving the Movie Theater” by Roland Barthes

I am learning a great deal from all this reading. I am realizing the multiplicity of writing topics and methods that make up the world of writing, and what’s more is that I have had so many thoughts like these essayists, perhaps undeveloped, but I know where their ideas originate from. In this essay Barthes accomplishes a psychoanalytical approach to the movie theater. I will say that I can sympathize with many of his single notions, but that I never had brought my various thoughts into a cohesive piece of writing. I enjoyed what he said: “According to true metonymy, the darkness of the theater is prefigured by the ‘twilight reverie,’” or “[Cinema is] exactly as if a long stem of light had outlined a keyhole, and then we all peered, flabbergasted, through that hole.” It’s just like I read in another essay, where the writer says that the only thing that set him apart from his “brothers and sisters” was that he had the ability to articulate the feelings that he had; they had the feelings, just not the ability. Here, in this essay, I see my feelings that I hadn’t spent the time, or perhaps hadn’t the skills, to articulate these feelings. Writing is everywhere. Anything, from the experiences at the cinema, to the effects of the cinema, to the reverie after the cinema, and even beyond the cinema, can be taken as an opportunity to write and expound the subtle and grand notions and comments on our society and understanding of this world. I guess the thing that I took from this essay is that it is the mark of a writer to take even small feelings and articulate them for the sake of all those who want it articulated, that the purpose of the writer is to speak for the people, not to speak take their place, not to assume what they want said, not to twist what they want said into what I want to say, but to say something so clearly and accurately and honestly so that readers will be able to say to the author, like one reader said to one of our visiting poets at the reading series (I wish I remember her name, but I don’t), “Thank you for saying that. I’ve been wanting to say that myself, and now I feel as though you’ve given me a voice, given my feelings expression, that otherwise would have remained painfully bottled up inside of me.” That’s what I mean when I say that I need to write for the people. Not to politically speak for them, but to emotionally and actually speak for them.