mine has been going crazy lately with all the lit classes i'm in.
i appreciate creative interpretations to literature. sometimes i feel they're beyond me.. like, there's a nice girl in one of my classes. looks very bookish, apparently loves to sky dive. she made the statement the other day in class that ahab... before his real appearance in the novel, when he is still holed up in his cabin and a big mystery.. that he is something like god, in the pagan sense. i was impressed that she could think of it that way. i certainly didn't.
but then take my holocaust lit class. in 'night' by elie wiesel, wiesel grapples with the idea of fasting at yom kippur. at auschwitz, should he fast, when it would just hasten his death (seeing as how he was so malnourished to begin with)? wiesel kind of abandons the idea of god - and he eats his rations with gusto.
one smart lady who's in a few of my classes made the observation that the passage where he eats on yom kippur is full of symbolism. like when he eats his bread.. even though he's rejecting god, he's eating the bread, which is a symbol for believing (she acknowledged it's not a jewish thing, but insisted that it held that symbolic meaning anyhow). i'm like... uh, no. yes, his eating was an act of defiance to the god he felt had abandoned him. but the choice of food was not up to him; soup and bread is all they got to eat in the camps. he had nothing else to
"nibble at" in the book, to reject god. he sucked down his soup and nibbled his bread. for christians, bread is the body of christ. for jewish people.. there is no christ. SO. sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, you know? am i crazy for being perplexed at how someone could get that
out of the guy eating?
i think that being in these classes has really made me realize i could not be, say, a professor of literature. obviously books are open to interpretation, but it seems like so much of interpreting literature is injecting your own bullshit into it rather than being reasonable about it. my favorites are when theorists try to project current issues onto centuries-old literature. arr!