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Interpretive literature?





gtherockgod
In English class we've been learning to discover the differences between "interpretive" and "escape" forms of literature. Im just curious, is there anyone who reads interpretive stuff in their leisure time? I dont mind being able to find hidden meanings while im reading, but do any of you read and try to discover all that exists between the lines of stories for fun?
TurtleShell
I enjoy deconstructing books and stories to find the meanings within the meanings... I'm not sure I've ever heard the terms "interpretive" and "escape" as specific categories of literature, however. Are they considered opposites? Are they related to each other?
gtherockgod
Interpretive refers to literature with hidden meanings, symbols, basically anything that requires the reader to "interpret" to get the most out of the story.

Escape refers to most commercialized literature. Its main purpose is entertainment, often contains stereotyped characters and happy endings.


Those are the terms they teach us in grade 12 english here in Alberta. Though the entire cirriculum revolves around the interpretive stuff, we're expected to be able to understand the difference between the two.
Nameless
I don't know about anyone else, but I find interpreting stories rather dull. If you have to sit down with a magnifying glass and a calculator (not really Laughing) to discover hidden message in the story, two things come to mind:
1) If a story intends to convey meaning then it's not very well done if the casual reader isn't going to get it.
2) The author didn't intend any extra meanings and you are making up bull[guess the next four letters] on the spot.
Nutteloos
I'm not sure I agree here. If a book can be written such that it satisfies the 'average' reader, but still offers a hidden meaning to those seeking it - that's a great writer. Not too many of those out there, though.

Myself, I'd be the 'escape' type. Knowing myself, I'd probably seek hidden meanings in books that don't have them. Plus, I'd much rather read three different books casually than read one book three times.
TurtleShell
Nut, I'm with you--a book can (and should) convey meaning but also satisfy a casual reader.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much it matters that the writer intended to convey the meaning you may take away from a book, and there are entire schools of thought that say it doesn't matter what the author intended. Furthermore, there may be no such thing as plot at all, there is only what we bring to it and what we take away.

I love interpreting. Actually, literary criticism is great fun. Pulling apart the stories gives new depth to what you probably already enjoyed to begin with. I don't do it with the regularity or to the extent that I used to for classes, but still, I don't understand the need to read for escape. I don't find that enjoyable. I'm kind of a slow reader, so for me that's an awful lot of effort to put into something that gives very little return. I guess instead of reading for escape, I watch One Tree HillSmile
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