Use Your Imagination

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"We tend to give writers all the credit, but reading is also an event of the imagination; our creativity, our inventiveness, encounters that of the writer, and in that meeting we puzzle out what she means, what we understand her to mean, what uses we can put her writing to." (pg 107)

I found the chapter on symbols to be very interesting.  Symbolism is something that many readers struggle with.  Literature is made through the author's thoughts.  When they compose a work they have one specific meaning and visual in their head.  We as readers do not know what that meaning is.  Many readers believe that a symbol only has one true meaning when they read.  Just because the author has one interpretation in their head, does not mean it can't be interpreted in another way. The author might use the color red to help describe love or happiness.  The reader might see the color red symbolizing anger.  When reading we need to use our imaginations and use our own interpretations of what we think the author means.  Readers make up a large part of a book.  It is our interpretations that help make a book interesting and have meaning.

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2 Comments

Rebecca Marrie said:

I couldn't agree more. I honestly believe that the author writes his works in a way which leaves much to the imagination. Seriously, what's the fun of reading a novel if the author only allows one "correct" meaning of a symbol? Each person who reads a novel has the amazing opportunity to interpret the novel as he wishes. Our own interpretations are definitely what makes a book interesting.

Marie vanMaanen said:

I think that you make a very good point. I also wrote about how confusing symbolism can be and how there is not a specific answer to what each symbol means. However, I did not point out as you have that reading requires the reader's imagination and how our imagination makes up a large part of the book. It really is our individual understanding of a symbol that give a book a special meaning to each of us.

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