This is not a review of a book or a movie. Rather, I want to address an issue that came up in a conversation with Lisa and that has bugged me in the past: the ridiculous claims made by academia when it comes to literature or film. I'll probably add to this later, but Lisa read me a quote that was not understood by either of us that a college professor made about the writing of LM Montgomery. At this point, I had an epiphany, and I said to Lisa, "An analysis of an author or text that would not be understood by the author is probably invalid."

Now, I don't know if I'm exactly right here, but think about it for a second. All the feminists and Marxists analyzing literature from centuries ago, or written by authors who have no knowledge of their theories, is kind of a futile exhibition in Ivory Tower overthinking. For example, if I want to say that Shakepeare, through the use of a female or minority character, is really saying women or a minority should have the right to vote, I'm being pretty silly. He might be saying that they are just as intelligent as the rest of us or wants to seek revenge like the rest of us, but Shakespeare himself was not at all concerned about the right to vote, so to take it that extra step is negating the world in which the author lived.

While I agree that author intent and reader experience are often completely different, to assume the author intended more because of current reader experience is just goofy, and academic for English professors. I can understand why Salinger once said he wished people would just read his book and not worry so much about all the hidden meanings that may or may not be there. I've read the book, and the obvious meanings are often good enough, and those are the only ones I could ever really get my students to buy into, anyhow. If I could get them to at least get a grasp of author intent and then apply it a bit to their own lives, I was winning, but that's not good enough if you need to be published every few years and everyone's already figured the text out enough. 

Of course, I did always tell students that their papers were pretty much a wasted effort if all they were doing was restating what everyone, including Cliff's Notes, was saying about a text, so I understand the need to take it in another direction, but maybe that's more about how others have used the text in their own writings or studies, not in trying to decipher something new from the text itself. I could be wrong, and I have certainly participated in the efforts myself, having taken about a half dozen English Literature graduate level classes, but I also could be right. 

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