For words are persons.
- James Hillman, The Poetic Basis of Mind
"This aspect of the word," says Hillman referring to the above quote, "transcends their nominalistic definitions and contexts and evokes in our souls a universal resonance" (163). A universal resonance. Perhaps this resonance is what Forster touches upon in his conception of the lower personality. Perhaps this quality is what approximates me to Bronte's state when she wrote. Woolf says that words are "full of echoes, of memories, of associations," that they are "part of other words," that they exist in an etymological plenum. By the very act of communication, through our usage of the written and spoken word, we are participating in a universally available history, a history as complex as human history, a history of entities that are alive as vigorously as we are. What is fascinating is not that Bronte and I can both use words, and participate in their history, but that when we use them with reverence, they subsume us. Hillman says, "We need to recall the angel aspect of the word, recognizing words as independent carriers of soul between people" (162). As words galvanize thought into expression, as they translate and transmit our souls, they lead an independent existence of their own, and if we are not mindful of that existence, our words are sure to fail us. Words can and do create their own world. An absorption into that world, a relinquishing of the self into the world of Jane Eyre, allows words the freedom to be independent carriers of soul, not mere slavish vehicles whose duty it is to serve, as information would have them be. Meeting words as our equals, not as our ministrants, allows us to meet each other as equals, allows us the freedom to communicate soul.