Staking out the Allegories

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"To the degree that literary works are true not only because of the lives of their main characters but also because of life generally, one might maintain that much literature may be considered allegorical even though the authors did not plan their works as allegories" (Roberts 151).

I think that we've all considered this at one point or another, when passionately debating the interpretation of a particular work.  Somewhere in the back of your mind, as you prepare your next argument, you wonder, "Did the author mean anything at all by that sentence/linebreak/image?  Or are we all just reading way too much into this?"  I know that I personally have hoped aloud to one day be a writer whose carelessly-penned thought would be construed as ingenious, and I would be able to just smile at all the interpretations of my work and refuse to say what I really meant (because I would never take away my reader's right of interpretation. Psh.).  

However, this type of freedom is one of the greatest things about literature.  I definitely don't think the perpetual uncertainty that surrounds interpretation is a reason to cease interpreting.  If a reader can get something more out of a story than the author intended, then I'd say everyone wins.

Now, an abrupt slant of topic.  Allegories are something we are all familair with, whether we know it or not.  Television, in my opinion, is co-owner of the market on allegories.  Literature ties, but let's not forget our favorite tv shows.  One instance where allegories are popular on television is in the "monster of the week" episodes of horror shows.  For example, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, especially early in the series when monster of the week episodes basically comprised the series, allegories were immense.  In one episode in season two, Buffy is invited to a frat party, and she lies and sneaks out in order to go.  By the end of the episode, Buffy discovers that the boys of the frat house all worship a giant monster snake.  Yes, Freud would be proud.  In this very feminist show, the male antagonists are worshipping a snake....and I'll let you puzzle out the allegorical meaning of that one. 

-Thanks to Karyssa, who, knowing of my love for Buffy, suggested this mini-topic, which gave me a chance to geek out on one of my last blogs of the semester.

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1 Comments

Kayla Lesko said:

That's why literature is around; to stimulate our brains (because some of the crap shown on tv nowadys certainly doesn't help. lol).

I like discussing what something means, I just don't like it when it turns into something bloodthirty because one person can't accept that someone doesn't with him/her.

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