Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Don't Get It

I don't get a lot of things. I have come to terms with this. I am used to getting the joke last, not finding the deep hidden meaning to things everyone else saw immediately, and so on. So it should be of no surprise to anyone that when I just did a search about pronunciation to some of the names in the book I am currently enjoying, I stumbled across a deep intellectual discussion about the meaning of every little thing that happens in the book. There was a big argument about the author I am currently reading and an author of the same nationality and who was better. I read through the comments about it all and felt like I had missed the point of the whole book. Which led me to pondering how I could have missed that when the bear shat in the woods it was a symbol for the political situation and how society is being shat on by the current people "in charge" of us all. This naturally led me into wondering whatever happened to just enjoying the story and not looking for meaning in every single word. I get that there is meaning to the books, but does every thing have a hidden meaning that only the learned will comprehend? And where does that leave me?

I read these books for the simple reason that I enjoy a good story and, as I always say to anyone who will listen -- or is within earshot of me -- the classics are classics for a reason. I don't read them to analyze every word and break down the novel until it is no longer enjoyable. I can get most of the meaning in these books, I just enjoy the whole story and can see the value in the story as a whole, not broken down into little bitty pieces that leave the beauty behind. And if I don't tear it down sentence by sentence does that make me stupid or not as "smart" as those who do? I think it is pretentious to do that. That's right! I said it! And I know that I will probably be crucified for saying it, but I stand by that statement. Reading these books and trying to find a deeper meaning than anyone else is pretentious and I am not in a contest to see who has the deepest thoughts or is the smartest. I do not think someone passing a kidney stone is a metaphor for how human relations are akin to a painful and unpleasant situation for those who have to pass that stone/deal with other people.

If you want to find all these deep and hidden meanings, by all means, do so. I want to enjoy my books and love a good story. I get the books, just not in the same way all these intellectuals do. I think it annoys me so much because I don't like the idea of someone reading a book and feeling like they missed the whole point and must not be as smart because they didn't find all the Waldos hidden in it. I'm not looking for Waldo, just a story that grabs me and holds me to the end, which is why I enjoy the classics so much.


Diane J Standiford said...

Thank God for readers like you! I would go crazy if, as a writer, I had to put "a deeper meaning" into every sentence. I start out with a story to tell, sometimes when all is said and done, some deeper thought-provoking treats are hidden, but if my story NEEDS them to be enjoyed---then I have failed.

Jen said...

Funny that you mention this. I told you that I was an English major back in school and this was because I love to read and write. But the analysis of literature---symbolism, plot structure, use of irony, archetypal characters, BLAH BLAH BLAH--- really killed my interest in reading for a lonnnnnnnnnnng time. Sometimes a hose is just a hose.

Lisa Emrich said...

Ummmm.....if there was a deep, hidden meaning in this post, I didn't get it.

Is it simply a rant, or some type of metaphor for being misunderstood because we have MS, or something else which flies past my not-brain-damaged-but-pretends-to-be head?

Or maybe I'll just respond with - I agree with you completely!!

But this is for Jen. A hose can't simply be a hose because it must be a phallic representation. Folks are always looking for the phallic in everything. A hose by any other name will always be a "hose" [wink, wink].

Anne P said...

I am sitting here, stunned and stupified. Have I never been here before? Probably not, because you are so smart and funny and clever and amusing that had I found you sooner there is no way I would have EVER had the cajones to start a blog of my own.

Oh yeah, what you said in your post today? Me too. Whatever you said.

Living Day to Day with Multiple Sclerosis said...

"Pretentious"???? Holy Cow!!! I am stunned!!! Your reading is starting to bring on words that I am going to have to use a dictionary to understand your blogs... LOL... I think that for exactly your reasons, that is why I try to stick with the oldies but goodies also... You know like Green Eggs and Ham, Goodnight Moon, and of course ABC's and 123's... Those happen to be my favorite all time books. Oh and my hardest one is The Giving Tree... The words are a little harder but I am able to follow along and find the "DEEPER" meaning in it. Love ya!!!

Webster said...

I started my college career as an English major. It ended when it occurred to me that poems could mean different things to different people, that 200 years after the fact with no supporting data there was no way to discern what an author was thinking as s/he plotted a story. There was so much arrogance in the English Department that I first switched to Psychology, then to Speech Therapy/Audiology. I got a B.S. FWIW.

Mike said...

Yes, no, and most definitely maybe.

Just enjoy the story for the hell of it. I, much like you don't get it a lot of the time.

I mean, really? The book was about the socio-economic suppression of minorities in a capitalistic democracy, with undertones of racial bias and political upheaval... and not about a boy named Tom sawyer and his adventures?

Yea, I got an 'F' in an English class in high school once. The teacher asked me what the author of a short story, written in like 1700 or some such, was really trying to say. I responded to her that since I did not know the author personally and, lacking the ability to question him since he was no longer amongst the living, I had no earthly idea, whatsoever, what the author was trying to say other than the words he had written down. She told me to read between the lines. I told here those lines were blank. I got my 'F' and have really hated English/Literature teachers ever since.

I have got to go on record here. I agree with you.

Have Myelin? said...

I love this!

Once I took an English class but WHOOPS I read the wrong novel for the final. I found out about the night before- what to do?

I bought the book and went in thinking for sure I'd fail. Instead I came out with a "B" because I simply opened the book and pulled out a few "phrases" and dissected them.

The Professor was too pompous to notice. =)

Like Jen said, sometimes a hose is a hose!

Norma Lee @ Norma Lee Good said...

Oh please. I'll never "get it" again. Before MS I used to be smart. That's what I tell my husband. "Remember when I was smart?"I try to make a joke out of it. If I can remember to.

Denver Refashionista said...

I have a literature degree and I still say, don't worry about the hidden meanings. Just enjoy...