When I was a sophomore, attending Logansport High School Advanced Placement English, we had to talk about the meanings of poems. I always hated this because the grading scale was completely subjective, but pitched as being objective1.
I would argue that it didn’t matter what the author had meant to say, because now all we had was our own interpretations. The poet was dead2, and therefore we would never know the “true” meaning, only what we made up as the meaning now3.
Come to find out, I’m actually just a Postmodern/Constructionalist. A quote for you, out of An Introduction to Social Constructionism by Vivien Burr”:
Postmodernism is a rejection of both the idea that there can be an ultimate truth and of structuralism, the idea that the world as we see it is the result of hidden structures… In art and literature it is seen in the denial that some artistic or literary forms are necessarily better than others, so that ‘pop’ art claimed a status for itself and the objects it represented equal to that of, say, the works of Leonardo or Michelangelo. In literary criticism, it also led to the idea that there could be no ‘true’ reading of a poem or novel, that each person’s interpretation was necessarily as good as the next, and the meanings that the original author might have intended were therefore irrelevant.” (emphasis added)
Thanks, Burr, it would have been really nice to know all that BEFORE I got counted off for DARING to think for myself, and question your reality. I guess all those postmodern museums Mom and Dad took me to really paid off.
1. Another reason to love math. If the answer is wrong, it is because you fucked up somewhere, not because your teacher is a fucktard that confuses Greek and Roman mythology.
2. D-E-D, dead
3. PS, Blake is a fucker. I don’t care how “clear” you think his message is.