Thursday, April 26, 2012

Metaphors and POV

One of my nephews and I got into a discussion about how some teachers delve into the "deeper meaning" of stories and novels so far that the piece is turned inside out in a literary (not literal) way. I agree that some people skew their favorite stories to their own point of view whether or not the author originally intended that meaning. But I do disagree that there are works with NO second meaning whatsoever.

Now, wait a minute. Sometimes a duck is just a duck! Yes, but we're wired to understand the world in metaphors. Everything is relatable to everything else so we can learn based on what we've learned before. You wouldn't think that playing the violin has anything to do with teaching computers, but trust me, the metaphors I learned from practice, patience, and persistence are paying off in the teaching.

But what if the author didn't mean anything? Sometimes, many times, authors don't consciously put in certain elements into their work. It just kind of appears. For example, in my novel, I saw it as a cool story. My readers have seen it as: my manual for raising children, my inner personalities duking it out for dominance, and/or my opinions on religion and politics, etc. I didn't start out meaning that, but when I went back and read it from their point of view, they were right. There WAS a deeper meaning, especially for people who knew me.

So point of view is not just in the perspective of the story, it's in the perspective of the reader AND writer. Isn't it amazing that we understand each other at all?