Thursday, January 28, 2010

on readings

AP readings are understandably difficult, but occasionally I think there is a line that has been crossed. The passed two weeks have consisted of very difficult works of literature to read and understand. At times, it seems like teachers purposely choose the most ambiguous writings they can find to test our knowledge. This is most likely a paranoid delusion though. There has to be some point in assigning extremely complicated and hard to read other than to prove we can actually do it.
These works typically have no meaning what-so-ever but we, as the clever students we’re thought to be, are supposed to over analyze all the details we can find. We have to pick meanings from a mess of entangling, confusing words. This task is a seemingly impossible one to accomplish. Along with this, everything has to line up with what the teacher expects of us.
In entries such as “After the Denim” and “Fat”’ this daily assignment was far more difficult. The author was so vague in everything he wrote. To make everything worse was having an assignment to pick out the meaning behind the titles. Now, with Denim, the title seemed so strange and without significance, it took a while to formulate a suitable response to the question. After discussing its possible implication with a group, we came to the consensus that it represented the change most old people flee from. This was completely made up but close to the true meaning, surprisingly. The next one seemed so obvious that it appeared to be a trap. The story based on a fat guy had the title “Fat”. That was that.
Of course, through deep discussion, we found how truly wrong I was in my assumptions. It seems the only way I can actually understand the deepest meaning possible of the piece of literature is only if it’s told to me. After the meaning is revealed, I can typically see how it could work. Sometimes, however, I wonder if the author really meant for the work to be dissected to the smallest detail. It seems we can find a meaning for every little detail that might just be there for no reason at all.
I think it reaches a point when some teachers feel the need to take a basic piece of literature and add so much more meaning into it. It seems very probable that these works have no deeper meaning. That the author simply wrote whatever was on his or her mind at the time. No meaning behind how the trees moved or the painting behind a table. Sometimes, I think we so desperately need to find a purpose behind the details to find a purpose for everything. Through these details we can make sense of the character’s ideas. Either to understand the piece better or to have something more to be tested over, the details have to be over-analyzed. It is in these details we find what teachers are really looking for and how deeply the piece is actually understood.

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