Sunday, October 24, 2010

Up for Interpretation

The readings covered this week allowed a lot of room for interpretation. As a reader, I truly enjoy the task of gathering my own perspective through an author’s ability to share their ideas without plainly spelling them out.

For instance in the interactive essay, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,”

Ernest Hemingway tells the story of a couple whose relationship relies on all the wrong values. Macomber remains with his wife because of her beauty, and Margot remains with her husband because of his wealth. Hemingway’s writing technique allows the reader to come to their own conclusions based on the evidence he presents. In this case, he leaves the reader with the unanswered question of whether or not Macomber’s death was accidental. The case can be made, that his wife sought the opportunity to gain freedom, and personal wealth. Thanks to Hemingway’s vague writing style, the reader is given leeway to reach their own conclusions.

In the same way way, Emily Dickinson leaves her poetry up for interpretation. In her poem,“Success is Counted Sweetest,” Dickinson gives somewhat of a stealthy explination of what she believes success is. I came to the conclusion, that in order to truly understand success, one must first know what it means to fail. To apply understanding and judgment, a person needs a frame of reference, or some sort of basis to verify their point of view. For instance, someone who has only known success their whole lives can not fully appreciate it, in which Dickinson write, “So clear is victory.” (322 ln.8) Only those who work from the bottom up can enjoy the fruits of their labor, and therefore comprehend success or victory for all that it is worth.

Dickinson’s poem, “I heard a Fly buzz- when I died,” also leaves room for reader interpretation.The first question that must be asked is simply, how can a dead woman be speaking? By presenting the poem from this point of view, Dickinson seeks to add severity to the situation, which she ironically strips away through the use of the fly. As a reader, there is plenty of room for personally emotional interpretation.

The poem, “Because I could not stop for Death,” presents Dickinson’s oddly passive view of death. She almost shares a friendly tone with an extremely morbid subject, causing the reader to question their own outlook on life. Dickinson presents, “a house that seemed a swelling of the ground,” (337 ln.16) which gives a comfortable welcoming look at the subject of mortality.

In the poem “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-” Dickinson uses the title to bring attention to her own point, clearly letting the reader interpret it as they want to receive it.

I realized that many times complete honesty is too much for an individual to handle. For this reason, it is better to share the truth overtime, rather than outright brutal honesty which often times may hurt someone. Her comparison of children seeing lightning for the first time shows he reader that we must exercise restraint and first discern out audience to apply the most effective way to share the truth. The true source of lightning is beyond the normal comprehension of a child, and therefore it is learned overtime, by easing into all encompassing knowledge. Omission in this sense is key to greater understanding.

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