PRECIS: This is the first sentence of the precis.

Much of Ngai's chapter deals with thick language being "simultaneously astonishing and boring" (258). Thick language focuses "on the tedium of the ordinary" (258) by producing the words in a way that they simply become "muck." The words become a mush of ordinary words being written together to create something astonishing from the boring. The size and amount of the muck is what is so astonishing, though the individual words themselves are somewhat ordinary. Being stupefied by the muck writing causes a state of "temporary paralysis" (261); "Yet 'temporary paralysis' is not merely a state of passivity; rather, it bears some resemblance to what Stein calls 'open feeling'..." (261). People try to make sense of the text that is confusing to them, which is the open feeling referred to by Stein. They attempt "to pinpoint the linguistic attributes that inform their stupefaction, rather than dismissing the stupefying text as senseless..." (257). Ngai, while she does a good job of explaining how individuals tackle a text that would at first glance be considered muck, does not really explain where the astonishment she refers to comes from. Why is the size of the muck astonishing, if it is in fact astonishing? What are we supposed to do with our astonishment? While she clarifies what should happen when stupified by a text (remain open to it), she does not clarify what should happen in regards to astonishment.

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