OT: finding meaning in books

Discussion in 'Vaginarium' started by Falconer, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. Falconer

    Falconer OT Supporter

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    Remember in that thread we just had where we had a little side-discussion about teachers asking "what do you think the purpose/symbolism of that book was?"

    I just found this. Apparently Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" didn't have any symbolism in mind at all when she wrote that book :bowrofl:

    http://johntreed.com/HTWPsymbolism.html

    (I didn't wanna re-hijack that thread, but this made me :rofl: so hard that I had to post it)
     
  2. giz

    giz Active Member

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    even if it is unintentional there is something to be learned from it.
     
  3. lawngn0me

    lawngn0me In every wish and dream and happy home, you will f

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    i find this funny because i actually had 1 professor who told us about when he was in school and was forced to "find meaning" in some book. His professor actually had the author come into the classroom and they asked him questions. It turned out that he just wrote the story and there was no symbolism in it whatsoever.

    The author pretty much said "what the hell are you guys talking about? I wrote it that way because that's what people do and that's the kind of stuff that happens".

    Needless to say, I did well in that literature class.
     
  4. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    it's such an unsophisticated way to think about literature, or any kind of art for that matter. And just because one novelist chose to write in a manner which is not symbolic doesn't mean that it applies to all books. To kill a mockingbird is a book about social commentary and you shouldn't be trying to find a "deeper" meaning anyways. It's a novel that is thought to high school students about a certain place and time in American history and that's about it. It's not an intellectual masterpiece that is praised globally. Try reading Dostoevsky or Tolstoy in such a simple manner and you're gonna miss the entire point of the novel.
     
  5. lawngn0me

    lawngn0me In every wish and dream and happy home, you will f

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    The point is that a lot of literature is taught in schools and teachers force what they got out of the book on students. This is WRONG. It is up to the reader to take what they want out of it. The author just writes the story and often times doesn't have any hidden meaning behind their words.

    Honestly, because teachers have forced their own opinions on me, it has had a negative impact on me. I really HATE literature because of that. I like to take things for what they are and nothing more.

    This doesn't apply to all books. You have to take into consideration when the book was written and the nature of the author.
     
  6. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    I've never had a class where the teacher forced their views on a particular book on me. Most times it was my discussion about what the book means. But if your discussion is "the author wrote the story because he was bored" I would probably tell you to throw some more gray matter into it because thats just wrong. Every author worth reading has a message behind their work (unless it's some crap like Tom Clancy). No artist will spend that much time on a piece of work that has their name associated with it without having some kind of purpose behind it, plain and simple.
     
  7. lawngn0me

    lawngn0me In every wish and dream and happy home, you will f

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    what I'm saying is that authors write stories because they like to write. yes, there is a purpose to their story, but not so much as something like a kite string breaking symbolizing a breaking bond between 2 people or something like that. Or even something like a certain colored light being so important that it means EVERYTHING in the story.

    What I'm saying is that writers often write stuff like this because that's just the type of shit that happens. A certain color could be used in the story because that may just happen to be the author's favorite color and nothing more. People often give so much meaning to these little details when in reality it has no bearing on the story at all.

    People give these things meaning. And trust me, I've had plenty of teachers in my career as a student tell me "this is what it means because I said so. it will be on the test".
     
  8. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    I disagree, those little details wouldn't be in a book if they didn't have a meaning. Again, we have to differentiate what kind of books you're talking about here. Sophisticated works will always ponder over every single word in a sentence because thats their intellectual nature and the reason why their works are so highly esteemed. You can almost compare a book to a movie in a sense regarding this issue. When you watch a movie, and all of a sudden the camera pans to a shot of, lets say, a glass spilling on the table without it really having a context to the story, you're not gonna simply dismiss it as a matter of fact. There is a reason the director chose to incorporate that shot and it means something otherwise he wouldn't have wasted his time shooting that particular scene.
     
  9. lawngn0me

    lawngn0me In every wish and dream and happy home, you will f

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    After having met a few authors of books and spoken with artists (i feel my view also holds true in regards to paintings as well), I feel my point is still valid. They have stated themselves that some of the things people spend so much time focusing on really have no meaning at all.

    The people give it meaning. In movies, the director wants to give it meaning so he'll throw it in. But the author or artist really didn't give a shit. But if the people want to give it meaning, there isn't any problem with it.

    My point is that I don't like other people forcing their view on me.
     
  10. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    just because somebody has written a novel or painted a painting doesn't make them a credible source on these things. The kind of artists I'm talking about have had countless doctoral dissertations and books written on just a single piece of their work. You can't compare that to some guy that you know that has a short story published or a painting exhibited, it's not the same, different caliber of mental and creative capacity.

    But i agree with you on your last point. If the teachers you're talking about really did force their opinion on a subject and told you it's gonna be on a test, thats wrong. If you have a different opinion on what something else means, and can explain it intellectually, then it's not 'wrong'. You just have to back your view up, thats all.
     
  11. Falconer

    Falconer OT Supporter

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    Of course not, but it makes them a credible source on their own piece of work.

    If Joe Schmoe writes a story and a kite string happens to break, and then Joe Schmoe says "I had the kite string break because I needed a reason for the person flying the kite to get pissed off and that was the random thing I chose," then it would be dumb to wax intellectual about "the string breaking symbolizes a dying friendship that [coincidentally] occurred later on in the book."
     
  12. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    except a story by Joe Schmoe would never appear in an academic setting where their work is discussed or for that matter should anybody discuss it in an extensive and sophisticated detail.
     
  13. lawngn0me

    lawngn0me In every wish and dream and happy home, you will f

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    except if it were for a literature class in which you were analyzing *gasp* literature.
     
  14. Falconer

    Falconer OT Supporter

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    Joe Schmoe was my random author name.

    If it helps you understand my point better, replace "Joe Schmoe" with "Sergey Vyacheslavovic" and pretend he is a Russian author who writes 1,500 page epics.
     
  15. kopetzki

    kopetzki Banned

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    just because it's a book doesn't mean it's literature :rofl: Most of the times a lit class will not have intellectually unsophisticated work which you have to discuss.
     
  16. XaPU!M

    XaPU!M Active Member

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    American high schools are not the only ones who read the book (and have it built into X grade curriculum), and aren't the only ones who have to discuss the book as a class to determine what deeper meaning the author was trying to get through to us. I know for a fact that both Canadians and British people have to read the book too. And I don't remember what our teacher tried to teach us was the meaning, but we had a few weeks dedicated to this damn book... which was written without any intentional symbolism, but taught as if it was packed full of it.

    It was actually a very good example of what Falconer was talking about, since they don't typically teach non-American students American history. So that's definitely not what the book is being used for in classrooms outside of America.
     
  17. Kev07

    Kev07 New Member

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    I write for fun

    most of the stuff that I write are short stories

    the stuff that I write just comes as Im writing. I never plan what I write I just start writing and my mind/ imagination takes care of the rest as I go
     

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