|Ilustração: Andrea Ucini, para The Guardian.|
Leiam estas declarações de Elena Ferrante. bastante certeiras e divertidas, na forma como ela se explica em relação ao uso do ponto de exclamação.
Mainly, this is because I’m afraid of excesses – mine and others’. Sometimes people make fun of me. They say: “You want a world without outbursts of joy, suffering, anger, hatred?” Yes, I want precisely that, I answer. I would like it if, on the entire planet, there were no longer any reason to shout, especially with pain. I like low tones, polite enthusiasm, courteous complaints.
But as the world isn’t going in that direction, I make an effort, at least in the artificial universe that is delineated by writing, never to exaggerate with an exclamation mark. Of all the punctuation marks, it’s the one I like the least. It suggests a commander’s staff, a pretentious obelisk, a phallic display. An exclamation should be easily understood by reading; there’s no need to insist with that mark at the end as well. But I have to say that it’s not simple these days.
Writers are lavish with exclamation marks. In text messages, in WhatsApp chats, in emails, I’ve counted up to five in a row. How much exclaiming the phony innovators of political communication engage in, the blowhards in power, young and old, who tweet nonstop every day. Sometimes I think that exclamation marks are a sign not of emotional exuberance but of aridity, of a lack of trust in written communication. I’m careful not to resort to exclamation marks in my books, but I’ve discovered in some of the translations an unexpected profusion of them, as if the translator had found my page sentimentally bare and devoted himself to the task of reforestation.
It’s likely that my sentences sound detached; I don’t rule that out. And it’s likely that, where the tone for some reason is impassioned, the reader feels happier if he gets to the end of a sentence and finds the signal that authorises him to be impassioned. But I still think that “I hate you” has a power, an emotional honesty, that “I hate you!!!” does not.
At least in writing we should avoid acting like the fanatical world leaders who threaten, bargain, make deals, and then exult when they win, fortifying their speeches with the profile of a nuclear missile at the end of every wretched sentence.»
• Translated by Ann Goldstein, entrevista retirada do The Guardian.