Its just a story...

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"You keep saying that the writer is alluding to this obscure work..." pg 82
Here I go again talking about the first page of the reading, but it struck me as interesting.

We brought this idea up in class and I think it is a common question. I think that it is important to remember that although it takes the reader a few moments to read it takes the writer a long time to write. The author really does focus on what to write and how to present it. While we hear of examples of people finding symbols in works that the author never intended, I think it is more common that people reading miss a few of the subtle things the author puts in.

Again no one knows for certain what the author actually meant by the strange details that are often included in work but what we do have are the words. I can easily relate this chapter to the idea of close reading.


Carlos Peredo said:

On the flip side, people do sometimes, albeit rarely, over analyze. For example:

For years after the Lord of the Rings came out everyone wanted to find a political agenda in it. Tolkien himself had fought in WWII and people were running crazy comparing Mordor to Nazi Germany and the alliance of men, dwarves, and elves to Britain, the US, and Russia. It took poor Tolkien several years of going public and assuring everyone that it was just a fictional story with no political undertones to finally convince everyone.

Still, on principle I totally agree with you!

Still, I would argue that because the events of World War II were still very present in Tolkien's consciousness, it could be fair to analyze Lord of the Rings from the viewpoint of how the events of the time affected the author's writing. Tolkien may not have consciously included anything that commented on World War II, but I think it would be hard to just ignore it entirely. Writers put themselves into their work; sometimes they don't even realize how much of themselves they've put into their work. LOTR may be analyzed on various levels. I don't know how many different schools of thought there are on this, but is it possible to analyze a work in a certain way even though the author has specifically stated it shouldn't be analyzed that way? The book says that "discussions of the writer's intentions are not especially profitable." If you can find sufficient evidence in the text that support your claim, but your claim is refuted by the author, can that claim still hold water? I think it does, because there are often layers to an author's work that the author herself doesn't realize are there. Any thoughts, anyone?

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