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Value of one visual interpretation

Ayla's picture

When I was writing this post, I was trying to come up with some universal key motives that authors have for writing a story.  I suppose I wanted to say that authors write a story to relay a message, specifically in a certain environment that they construct in their minds.  (If anyone thinks that this is not the case, I'm curious to debate whether or not that is true).  So it is the author's job to use words and context in order to give the reader an essence of the story and the environment.  Still, there is a level of uncertainty that is unavoidable - whether this is the author's intent or not.  In class we debated which type of writing allowed more freedom of interpretation - comics or the traditional novel.  The discussion seemed to rely on the glories of being able to have that freedom as a reader as opposed to the narrow view of a story.  On the board, I wrote that when comics are pushed to their limits, they turn into movies.  Movies are a certain visual interpretation of a story, certainly with a narrow view of what the characters look like and how they react to certain events throughout the story.  Often, readers are disappointed by movie interpretations of their favorite books because it is not what they had pictured, the movie was forced to leave out important events, or the movie altered the storyline.  We, as readers, cannot accept the alternate story when film directors change the plot.  We are dedicated to what we had read to begin with because we have adopted the story as part of us - at least for me, stories shape my person.  However, I argue that movies and their 'one interpretation' cultivate a rich discussion and learning despite their limited view.  I love talking about movie plots and wondering what happened between scenes, what were the characters' motives, why did they react a certain way.  There is so much in just one facial expression, in one flash of anguish, in the faintest smile.  When other people have watched the same movie, I can automatically relate to their experience because we know it was the same.  We can engage in a discussion of the art and the plot, learning about what others picked up on that we didn't.  I think that novels also create this community, in a different way.  Discussions about novels can spew in so many directions with so many different interpretations - learning from novels can be endless.  I suppose I want to emphasize that our discussion in class was a debate of which allowed more freedom of interpretation - and I was getting the sense that we were essentially asking this question to assign a certain value to each form of writing.  Traditionally, we read to escape to worlds that aren't our own, and we are released into that world by our own imagination based off of an author's words.  So, we are inclined to say that freedom to imagine makes a form of writing better.  I think it just makes it different, and that there is still a rich learning experience attached to one visual interpretation.