Classic Over Analysis

Hmm...I wonder what the bus symbolizes
Hmm…I wonder what the bus symbolizes

As you could probably guess, English isn’t my favorite class. I’ve already discussed my disapproval of a my English teacher. Well after a recent class “discussion” and by discussion I mean group torture session, I think I’ve arrived at the root of the problem: over analysis.
Everyone has had that moment while reading something like Grapes of Wrath and been asked by the teacher, “what does the stick mean in relation to the overall theme of the book?” I’m pretty sure it’s just a stick. The point is, people (especially my English teachers) consistently read too far into books that really aren’t all that profound. I’d like to talk to Mark Twain and have him tell me all about how Huck Finn isn’t really about southern race relations (that one’s probably true though). Just once is like to read a book just for the sake of reading.
This time it was Talent Night. For some weird reason the man wanted to analyze the cultural themes/ meaning behind a comedic, sketch comedy performance (he made a worksheet!). Now I get that he was trying to prove that was show our culture in everything we do. Well I have two responses to that idea. One: you’re completely missing the point. Sure you could analyze the theme and symbolism of everything you see and hear, but in doing so you miss the real meaning, as in the thing the author was trying to say. You could draw anthropological conclusions about Talent Night sure, but it’s not about our culture, it’s about making people laugh. Instead you selfishly steal the intended meaning from the author and replace it with what you want, which sounds kind of douchey to me. Screw reading between the lines, can we first read the actual lines?
Second: It’s circular logic. Lets examine this one analytically. So we’re saying that talent night reflects/reveals our culture. Alright we’ll what is talent night but a theatrical performance. Theatrical performances are in there very nature a form of art, and as such they are a large part of the makeup of our culture, I’d even argue that the arts are our culture. Therefore by the transitive property, Talent Night is our culture. What you’re left with is circular logic. Of course Talent Night reflects our culture, it is our culture! So while we’re at it I should point out that numbers show our mathematical system, and words reveal our language. Yes you can definitely argue your point, but your point is hardly worth mentioning, how about instead we just read…you know like you do in an English class.

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