Leave it up to schools and especially English Professors to butcher what could have been a good book. Once you set foot into high school, a simple 5-line poem turns into a full school year analysis. ANALYZE, ANALYZE, ANALYZE! Books are not meant to be taught but are for the enjoyment of the reader. We are taught what it's 'supposed' to mean. Writing should not have to be a puzzle we try to piece together, but should be an adventure and we take what we want from it. They come up with such abstract meanings and you're looking at them scrunching your face thinking, "WHAT THE F$%!" I bet you half these authors are sitting on their toilets writing 'The Best Novel of All Time' while Scholars, Critics and Professors find some profound meaning to the book that was created on the toilet when in fact their inspiration was probably the way their poop splashed in the water or the texture of the toilet paper. We become these analytical robots, which in turn reflects on our lives when the word "OK" is no longer "OK" and you begin to analyze what you could have possibly done to receive such hateful words!
In my Creative Writing class last semester we were told to read an essay and prepare questions for the writer who would be attending our next class. Being that we were taught to overanalyze and never accept what is being given, we came up with crazy questions about the position of the text, the deeper meaning behind the use of punctuation and the reasons for the choice of font (which looked like Calibri, the default font in Word). So the writer came in ready to tackle or so we thought our intellectual questions. Sadly, we weren't getting the answers we were expecting.
This girl even said, "I love the use of that quote in the beginning. Was it to reflect on your childhood?"
And he said, "Sure, if you want to see it that way ..."
OK .. (and I mean OK at its face value with no deeper meaning intended)
He concluded by saying that his writing doesn't mean more than what it already is and it reflected upon what he felt like doing at that time. We were all taken aback-- So what you're saying is that what you have written is what it 'really' is? .. WELL DUH! Here we are expecting some mathematical formula and not taking in the beauty of the simplicity of his writing and grasping the real story, rather coming up with a million questions as to why he put an exclamation point instead of a period!
Now imagine the authors of the books we were learning about sat in the back of our classrooms. They would probably also look at the Professor with a scrunched up face thinking, "WHAT THE F$%!-ETH!" and say, "The deeper meaning behind my story lies in the depths of my toilet bowl."
Ha! As a writer and the daughter of a retired English teacher, this post made me laugh. My mom found meaning in EVERYTHING, thinking of things I doubt the author did. As an author, though there is meaning behind much of what I write, I have been asked a few questions by readers and given them "wrong" answers, much to a readers surprise. I guess I'm not as deep as some people think! :)ReplyDelete
Reading should be fun and enjoyable, not an analytical exercise. Once you start picking the written word to shreds, it tends to lose its meaning.ReplyDelete