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So Many Meanings

Here's the problem with symbols: people expect them to mean something. Not just any something, but one something in particular. Exactly. Maximum. You know what? It doesn't work like that.
Foster (Ch 12 and Interlude [p. 183]) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

I guess this does make sense. Everyone has a different way of looking at things. Five people could try and interpret one symbol and each come up with a different meaning. It all comes into a matter of perspective. I guess that symbols, like many other things, are not as definitive as we would like them to be. There is no clear answer. It is all a matter of opinion. No answer is really right or wrong.


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Comments (2)


At times I do find this difficult and frustrating but honestly reading wouldn't be as much fun if everyone knew exactly what every single thing symbolized. I think that having different interpretations is what makes it more interesting!

Literature would get really old and probably wouldn't get read as often if people weren't allowed to put different interpretations on it. What makes reading so wonderful is that you can relate to it in your own way, and you don't have to adopt the viewpoint of every literary scholar that has come before you. If a work of literature is really good, it will only invite new interpretations with each future generation that reads it.

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