Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sometimes, the curtains aren't just blue

I like reading, and I have an internet connection.  So, it was only a matter of time before someone linked me this.

Sadly, this reflects a common attitude towards the study of English literature.  That it’s “wishy-washy”, and that English literature students just lounge around in ivory towers, wearing scarves and trying to find the deeper meaning of texts where no such meaning exists.

I completely disagree with that idea, and there is plenty of evidence to back up this view

When you write, you have to describe a whole universe.  You may choose to describe a world that is similar, or nearly identical to our own, but nevertheless, you have a very limited amount of words to describe this world and put your ideas across.  So if you go out of the way to point out the colour of the curtains, it’s probably significant.

Writers could also include these devices unconsciously. 

Perhaps more importantly, maybe this isn’t the question that we should be asking ourselves.  Arguably, the whole point of studying literature isn’t to determine what an author’s intentions were. If you can find a metaphor in a piece of writing that makes you think, or see the world from a different perspective, then does it really matter whether the writer wanted it to be there or not?