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What does that say about me?

Feelings and emotions can be expressed in a variety of ways. The things we say and the things we do expose our inner thoughts to the people around us. But to what extent can these two means of expression reveal the truth within ourselves?

Words, either written or spoken, reveals our intentions and our thoughts. They are limitless, yet they can go beyond the truth. Words can represent our desires, what we want to do, or what we will do. However, is that really what we think? Is what we write on our paper really what we want to do? Is everything that we say truly what we mean? Amy Tan, who has written several novels including The Joy Luck Club, speaks of words as a way “to evoke emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth.” Yes, words can express an emotion, describe an image, explain an idea, but the question is how truthful can words be.

People can say all they want about themselves, but proving it is a different story. Reliability plays a significant role on whether or not the receiver of these words can trust the speaker. In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the narrator by the name of Holden Caulfield, establishes early in the story that is unreliable by stating, “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life.” Although it seems as though he is honest and tells his audience his thoughts on everything, Holden the character makes it hard for us to really trust him. Holden the narrator tells his audience what he thinks about everything, whereas Holden the character lies continuously. This combination makes it difficult for the audience to know whether or not Holden can be trusted as a narrator. Words can mean so much, but their effectiveness lies heavily on the speaker.

On the other hand, actions are a physical representation of our thoughts. What we think is a direct consequence to our behavior. Our thoughts are expressed in this way since through our physical reactions. As a result, actions serve a more reliable form of expression since there is no way to hide it. Let’s take Holden for example. He says “That kind of stuff’s happened to me about twenty times since I was a child.” (In regards to getting sexually abused) Holden always says that he is depressed all the time and how he hates pretty much everything in life. His actions actually reflect his thoughts. He hates everything because he was molested as a child. And because he was molested as a child, his reaction is for him to protect other people’s innocence. He was upset when his friend, Stradlater, was trying to have sexual relations with with his long time friend. This also explains his reason for trying to scratch off all the F-Bombs found in public. His actions directly reveal his inner self and beliefs. There is no question that he is what he calls himself: The Catcher in the Rye.

In my English class, we would do reflections, where we would look back at our progress and grade ourselves on how we can improve next time around. This is a perfect example to why “Actions speak louder than words.” When we reflect, we have to describe in DETAIL of how we contributed in class. It wasn’t just a list of words of what we did, rather the important thing was PROVING what we did. Anyone can say that they did something, but backing it up with actions that they did it is what matters. Ashley Fern from the Elite daily states, “Words are easy to throw around, but it takes a righteous person to follow through with actions that back them up.” Words are cheap. Like the saying, “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” Anyone can say anything. But does it mean it is true? NO. Actions reveal the truth since your actions are what define you.

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