Anne had been staring at the laptop screen for a long time, lazily sitting up in bed. Her bored gaze travelled over another facebook album. It was late night and there was silence in the house, everyone in their own rooms and quiet.
The door opened and Cathy, her younger sister entered.
” I think it’s going to rain.” She said, sitting on the floor and leaning against the side of the bed.
” How’s keats ? finished? ” inquired Anne, referring to Cathy’s homework assignment.
Cathy nodded. ” What are you doing? Facebook?” she glanced at the screen. ” Why do people put up all these silly pics. All of them look alike, if i have seen one mug shot i have seen a dozen, and I’m sick of seeing my friends twirl in a dress like they’re taylor swift or something.” Critical essays usually left the prosaic Cathy sarcastic. Anne was eighteen and quite mature for her age. Cathy to whom she was a fascinating big sister had already acquired a lot from her serious nature at sixteen. Though the girls liked pretty things, they also liked variety, and had a remarkably incisive reasoning.
“Vanity, dear Cathy, just vanity. ” Anne replied with the patience of explaining the obvious.
” Ever since Jane got her new phone, she barely talks; she just pouts at it and uploads photos all day, even in class. And because i didn’t comment on them, she said I must be jealous. ” said Cathy in disgust. It was evident Jane would soon be demoted from friend to groupie.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, especially those that people take themselves. You get to see into their minds with them. Their weak points, and their desires. Look at this.” Anne pointed to one of her friend, cooing over her cousin’s new born baby. “That tells you a lot.”
” A thousand words,” said Cathy with the iron clad conviction of one who knew what she was talking about, “is a lot of words.”
For the first time a spark of interest came into Anne’s bored eyes.
“It could write a fair essay. Maybe one of those children stories, too.” , considered Anne.
” Words,” said Cathy, delighted to find Anne taking her seriously, “convey a lot more than pictures, i think, because they are more, … more firm and concrete and … and they make sharp definitions, you know.”
” And they tell characteristics, and hidden meanings and a variety of scenes. They crystallize situations and people and explain a lot more than a stern attitude and frown might in a picture, like Heathecliffe in Wuthering Heights” , said Anne, much struck. She and her sister were avid readers.
”Pictures have no explanation or conclusion, you can’t understand them without reading something about them, of what was in the person’s mind or something. Like that picture of Jack with his motorbike, you would never guess it was three summers’ worth of yard work unless it was captioned. ” said Cathy, “not to mention the paintings that dad has hanging downstairs.”
“Pictures have subtle explanations and conclusions.”, retorted Anne. “We haven’t seen enough to learn the language.”
Cathy opened her mouth wide, outraged.
“Besides if you are a witness at a crime scene, pictures can capture detail in a way a written report never can.” ,said Anne.
“Elementary ,my dear Watson. “, said Cathy.” But you might think that in that picture of your friend with the baby, that its hers and not her niece. Not enough explanation. A story with a picture, it is just a symbol of a story or a reference.”
“Words do form stronger links, and give backgrounds and there is a wider scope.” ,conceded Anne. “But pictures are visions of life, and to most people more interesting than words. Besides its hard to condense everything you see in a picture into words, that’s why descriptive writing is such an art .We don’t understand everything about life anyway, you know ,maybe that is the point of pictures, that there are things we don’t see or hear that are there all along.”