Rank: Herald of Galactus
Joined: 4/4/2007 | Posts: 1,641 | Points: 7,500
As much as I loved English class and love literature, that is always one of the things that bugged me. They pick books apart line by line, and I'm like...hey, how do we know this without having the author tell us?
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Fortunately Tolkien, my favorite author, had no problem explaining where his ideas came from, and more so, where they did not.
And when you know a lot about an author's life, that makes it easier, because you can take what you know and interpret the story. That's really useful for people like Hugo, Dickens, Milton, Chaucer - knowing about their lives and their political and religious views lets you know exactly what they're trying to say in their writings.
I got really upset when one of my college professor's tried to tell me that EA Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher was about a homosexual relationship between the two main characters. I went "WTF? That's not in there ANYWHERE." When we had an exam that covered that story, I left out his stupid a$$ interpretation and took a psychological approach (that all these crazy things were happening because of his mental state; like he was blowing things out of proportion because he was freaked out). When I got my paper back, he actually wrote on there "Hey, why didn't you talk about what we talked about in class," and I'm too nice to tell him I thought he was a dumbass. I don't think he docked me for it, so whatever. So aside from trying to come up with all manner of interpretations, what REALLY bugs me is when someone will only accept a single, their own, interpretation, and not anyone else's. Of course, I say that, and I flat out refused my professor's interpretation, lol. But it was really, really dumb. :)