to express a mood
playfulness or seriousness
ease or logic speaks
Adapted from the book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:
Consider the struts on the backs of two chairs.
Both seem to express a mood.
The curved struts speak of ease and playfulness, the straight ones of seriousness and logic.
And yet neither set approximates a human shape.
Rather, the struts abstractly represent two different temperaments.
A straight piece of wood behaves in its own medium as a stable, unimaginative person will act in his or her life, while the meanders of a curved piece correspond, however obliquely, with the casual elegance of an unruffled and dandyish soul.
According the The New York Review of Books, this is “A perceptive, thoughtful, original, and richly illustrated exercise in the dramatic personification of buildings of all sorts.”
What I find irrestible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.
I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.
Neat trick in writing a book.
If I knew how to do that, I would.