This is topic Why Speak for the dead? in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by King of Men (Member # 6684) on :
Why not for the living, where it could heal a family instead of comforting the survivors? Granted, the dead cannot speak for themselves, but then, many of the living find this difficult too. The absolute honesty and the outsider's perspective that Card gives his Speakers could surely be just as useful before the death? Indeed, to some extent this is what Ender does in Xenocide, pointing out the flaws of each member of Novinha's fractured family and doing what he can to compensate for them. Could not the Speaking of motivations even be useful to the one Spoken for, permitting them to see why they do what they do?
Posted by Saniya (Member # 7592) on :
"Speaking of Motivaitons" as you described it is a great idea. But I think it would be far better to have it as a livelong goal really, not just a once in a lifetime event.

I think that Ender in Xenocide is a perfect example of how one should be completely honest throughout your whole life.
Posted by AMCSteel (Member # 6321) on :
I think it would be hard for people to be Perfectly Honest with a Speaker when the Subject was still alive. People may still have stuff to gain so they may still lie. After some one is dead everything is over. Speaking is not really meant to be conforting to the survivors just Honest.

Speaking of Motivations is a hard thing. Not for the fact not doing it means you are not honest. You could be perfectly honest your entire life, but have no idea who or what your actions are going to affect. You can't get together everyone you possibly are going to affect into in a room to tell them what you are planning on doing. Though after that "crucial' desision is made (like the ones that lead to peoples deaths in Xenocide) it is hard for outsiders to know the real modivations.
Posted by Remnant (Member # 8129) on :
Not to sound like a know-it-all, but speaking for the living seems to be an ARROGANT thing to do-

It is not ones place to speak for another so long as they are alive- let them speak for themselves! You can HELP them, etc, but it isn't yours to do it for them.

That is not to say you can't TRANSLATE for someone, as Ender does, in a sense, for the Hive-Queen. But speaking for the dead has a purpose!

It's not for comfort (actually, ender specifically says that it isn't) and its not for "just Honest(y)" either. It's to "Honor" the dead-

This DOESN'T mean to make them seem honorable. Rather it is to portray who they REALLY were to those that have false assumptions.

Those who care to hear the truth, great. Those who don't, it is there choice (no one is forced to listen to a speaker mind you!).
Posted by kaioshin00 (Member # 3740) on :
Why not for the living, where it could heal a family instead of comforting the survivors?
Surely if you were to speak for the living you would have to have their consent to do so. And if a person was willing to change, I would imagine they would attempt to change with or without a speaker's aid.
Posted by King of Men (Member # 6684) on :
Yes, but recognising 'something is wrong in my life, I need to change' is not the same as being able to pinpoint the trouble. An outsider might more easily see false assumptions and lack of communication, and Speak them.
Posted by TheClone (Member # 6141) on :
Isn't that what a psychologist does?
Posted by King of Men (Member # 6684) on :
True, but they're not very good at it. [Big Grin] Comrade OSC's Speakers appear able to extract the important points and truths from someone's life every time, and Speak them in a helpful, honest manner.
Posted by TheClone (Member # 6141) on :
Dr. Phil!
Posted by mothertree (Member # 4999) on :
There is an element of this in 12-step groups. Though it is not uncommon for the family members, already damaged by whatever the compulsive behavior was, to be leary of the addict's reformation.

I've been tapped to give a lesson this week in church. At the time I agreed, I didn't realize it was going to be father's day. And it's a lesson about the priesthood (which pretty much all the men bear in our church). In writing some of my thoughts, I was thinking "man, this is a lot like a speaking."

I think a lot of the landmarks we do on this forum are shaped by the idea of a speaking. One of mine was a real life changer for me. I had been sort of trapped by a lie for about 6 years and in writing about it, got free of the lie.

I think when we right something out, some of the logical short circuits that keep us from finding lies in our lives get exposed.
Posted by eyetell (Member # 8229) on :
In that case, keep telling us about your life.
Posted by Will B (Member # 7931) on :
To be honest, I think the reason people in the Enderverse speak for the dead is a) it helped make a poignant ending for Ender's Game, that Ender Spoke for the Hive Queen; and b) speaking for the dead is more stunning than speaking for the living. If this were happening in reality, maybe we should recommend that Speakers for the Dead not wait so long -- but Speaking for the dead makes better fiction.
Posted by Orson Scott Card (Member # 209) on :
People who "speak for the living" are generally called "rude." The living can speak for themselves. And a speaking for the dead is not meant to bring "comfort," it's meant to bring meaning.
Posted by eyetell (Member # 8229) on :
Thank you very much.

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