Remember the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? How wrong this particular piece of old "wisdom" is! Words can hurt. Words DO hurt. Sometimes, words hurt more than any physical attack, for they can wound us to our core and suck the life from our spirit. According to my research, this is a bastardization of the original and, in context, it changes the meaning dramatically, which illustrates Hawthorne's point perfectly.
Words are just words. Like a knife is just a knife; how it's used is what makes the difference.
As a knife can be used to slice a juicy steak, so it can be used to stab someone through the heart. In the same way, words can be used to build up or to, figuratively, stab through a heart. They become most powerful when used by practiced linguistic virtuosos how to choose them carefully and string them together masterfully. Think of Lincoln's mere 272 words that expressed volumes in his speech, known as the Gettysburg Address. And Julius Caesar in Shakespeare's play, said, of his friend's betrayal, simply, "Et tu Bruté?" (Even you, Brutus?)
Well-chosen words can create a masterpiece of wisdom that makes you look at the world from a different perspective. To broaden your views, try reading, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou or "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. I promise you will be challenged and entertained, and if you're not careful, you might even be prompted to revise your thinking about certain issues. You might even grow a bit. Words can do that, you know.