Sunday, February 2, 2014

What's the point of it all?

Ever since I started taking higher level English classes where I was asked to close-read texts I have pondered this question.  I have a tendency to think "what's the point?"  Maybe those red drapes the author happened to mention twice were just red drapes, so when that kid across the room from me makes some big theory about how they symbolize passion or violence or whatever, I think "bullsh*t.  What's the big deal?  They're just drapes..."  But if I found out that the author meant those drapes to mean something, I probably would accept it.  So I guess I do have a tendency to consider the author's intentions as sort of "correct."  If I don't know the author's intentions or at least the context in which he or she wrote the story, I feel like I cannot fully understand it or make a proper judgement or argument about it.

However, while I believe that knowledge of intention and context can lead to a fuller understanding of a story, I suppose that when I think about it more deeply I do also believe that we can bring our own meaning and understanding to a story.  If you can glean meaning from a story or connect with a story on a personal level apart from the original intentions of the author, I think that your interpretation can be at least valid, even if it's not technically "correct."  So while I might be skeptical about the importance of red drapes, I understand and can accept the validity of other interpretations of a story.

(I hope this makes sense.  I had a really hard time trying to express my thoughts here...)

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