The Literary Blog Hop is a monthly meme run by The Blue Bookcase.
This month’s question comes is:
To what extent do you analyze literature? Are you more analytical in your reading if you know you’re going to review the book? Is analysis useful in helping you understand and appreciate literature, or does it detract from your readerly experience?
I think those who have majored in literature cannot help but be analytical about the the things they read. I know, that when we first studied various ways in which we can perceive a literary piece of work, I loved to sit and think about everything I read. It was beautiful to discover literary devices, intended or intended, and made enjoying the work even better. I cannot, now, read a book without turning off this analytical side of me. I find myself, right from the first word of the first chapter, thinking, wonder, working things out. The wheels in my head begin to turn, and sometimes I feel that it turns too fast for me to keep up.
I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but many times I find myself coming across a sentence, then pausing and debating about the merits/demerits of said sentence and how things are not clear. I spend about five or ten minutes just thinking about it. Then, when I get back to the story I find that I’d just wasted my time because the author has it all down pat on in the very next paragraph!! Personally, I think, that is the biggest disadvantage of reading analytically – I tend to see a ghost round every single corner, and sometimes that can be a waste of time and a waste of brain energy (I cannot think of a better phrase or word)! There have been times when I have wished for those long gone days when I could read a story for the story alone….especially in cases of very simply works.
However, on the whole I love analysis. I find that I am able to appreciate a piece of work much better through analysis. It might be that many things I understand from the literary work would not have been intended by the writer. But then I strongly believe in the Reader-Response Theory. A piece of literature is incomplete without its reader. To me literature is the vast sum of human knowledge, thought and experience that communicates itself to an individual’s knowledge, thought and experience. A reader can only, in most cases, interpret a piece of work in his/her relation to it. A story becomes more than a story when it affects the reader on a very personal level (whether intellectually or emotionally). Then, I believe, that story becomes literary.
What about you? Do you analyse literature? If you do, how do you find it? If you don’t, how do you respond to a literary piece?