Another of Chesterton’s tricks that was widely objected to was his use of paradox. According to Hollis, his excessive use of that device can be “intensely annoying” at worst, at best “wearying,” and seems to have been indulged in purely “through perversity or a desire to show off.” David Derus concurs, arguing that Chesterton saw paradox “primarily as a device, a strategy for attracting attention and provoking reaction, humorous or indignant.” Many have believed that Chesterton’s use of paradox stemmed from “sheer affectation,” and that he used it solely for the shock effect, little caring whether it was true or not.
But the real reason that so many people cannot forgive Chesterton is that they are forced to reckon with his sincerity.…show more content… But that is very far from being the case. One fascinating truth about Chesterton negates this idea entirely: his ideology, rhetoric, and arguments are inseparable. It has been said, “A man’s style is the nakedness of his soul.” That style may be imperfect, but it is the very man himself and the soul of the man, showing that soul’s strengths and weaknesses, its “defects and glories, its insights and oversights; and we must not ask that it be mended.” This is splendidly applicable to Chesterton, even to his appearance and his handwriting. He is a perfect example of a man in whose mind and writing everything was integrated into a beautiful whole. Our universe is a whole, and when the rare man comes along that is able to see it that way, we should sit up and pay attention. This was Chesterton. He did not employ an endless stream of literary devices to show off or simply to be absurd, but because they were inseparably married with his ideology.
Chesterton’s Orthodoxy includes a fantastic example of his habit of presenting of sincere, deep truths with a dazzling show of paradox, humor, and figurative language.
I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas… What could be more delightful than to