Friday 29 August 2014


I had a certain high school English teacher who looked for hidden meanings and depths in everything we read in her class, and I don't have a problem with that.

Writing is art, and art is always symbolic, intentionally or not. It's also about connection, between author and reader, between the reader and their life experience. 

What I do have a problem with is insistence that there is a (to borrow a BDSM term) Wun Twu Way to interpret any piece of art. 

Sometimes a reader will see exactly what the author was trying convey. Sometimes they'll have a completely different experience, and both are okay! The interpretation is personal, and should be. Sharing your thoughts and feelings about a work is fine. 

Putting words in an author's mouth (This is what the author is trying to say!) and/or insisting that your interpretation is the only correct one are both poor teaching skills and a sadly limiting world view. Much like, "A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient", a person who believes only their opinions are valid and won't allow other points of view is a fool. 

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