Saturday, January 30, 2010

SAT and Carver stories

I was supposed to title one of my blogs with some quote from a movie this weekend. Unfortunately, I forget what quote it was, but I’m fairly certain it was from The Hangman’s Curse.
So this week we read and discussed. I liked the Andrew Sullivan piece for the first few pages and the Carver stories were interesting, if not overall enjoyable. The problem with the Carver stories, however obvious and expressed the common opinion was, had to do with the ending. It seemed like there was all this build up, all this effort put into suspense and symbolism, and then there was no clear conclusion. Now of course I know that this is because that is the way they were designed, and if they weren’t written precisely this way then they wouldn’t have the same effect and meaning as they do. And this is true. The ending, with an insufficient wrap up, so to say, caused the reader to put more effort into revealing the point or reason for the story. I’m struggling to remember where it was, but I recently read something about writing. Actually, it was in the SAT last weekend, I’m pretty sure. It was one of those comparison sections where you read excerpts from two essays. One was a mother teaching her daughter how to write and the other was a critique on the attitude of some writers.
When the mother was writing, she wrote about how you have to take the readers into consideration. Writing a hard, impossible to understand novel is not the way to go. She mentioned a bench metaphor, stating that if an increasingly difficult passage discourages readers and confuses them, then an easy paragraph just to rebuild their confidence and regain their interest is necessary.
The other essay was about how taking even the smallest consideration for your audience is commercializing your novel, and true art shouldn’t be commercialized. I believe the quote used in the conclusion was something similar to “if you don’t understand it, learn how to read”. Yes, it was rather harsh for an SAT essay and also probably frustrated those stuck on the questions for the passage. I mean really, do you have to discourage us before we even look at the questions?!
Anyway, the Carver stories reminded me of this because I felt as if he was saying “you don’t understand the ending, you don’t understand that it’s open for interpretation, but only the right interpretation? SUCKS!” Yes, I foud him to be a very arrogant writer. Like most students, I enjoy stories with closure. Like most anyone to be honest, that’s why people get hooked on soap operas. They need closure and they won’t get it for another 13 more seasons.
On a brighter note, my boyfriend did rather well meeting my father. The only critique is that next time it would be nice if he didn’t have stitches and a black eye. That apparently caused my father a little bit of confusion. I should have taken the blame. Just kidding.

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