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Interpreting Art and High School Lit Classes

Frindle's picture

The further along I got in the essay, the more I started to see this not only as a disscussion about interpreting paintings and the like, but also as being about books. Sontag believes that we should not interpret art, that it takes away from the real value of it. Ancient versions of this that built on top of the art are acceptable, but digging behind it is not. This reminded me of my high school lit classes. I feel as though the majority of the essays I wrote ended up being about some sort of symbolism or metaphor or interpretation of the book (and most of the time, I didn't believe). We spent very little time building on it: relating it to our life, history, politics, science, often we got caught up in tiny details that were supposed to be the "true meaning behind the novel." But sometimes we don't need to hear that. Sometimes we need to understand that the surface story is just as important.