I really enjoyed the piece and the author that I wrote on and the theory of the “dead author” is something that I always wanted to explore a little further and from a different angle. I used a piece called “Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff. If you haven’t read it YOU SHOULD! It’s a quick read and as “intellectuals” you’ll appreciate it. I feel that my writing process was pretty solid. I discussed the piece and the author then went into my analysis of my theory in relation to the piece pretty seamlessly. I haven’t quite decided how I want to present it to the class as I want to make it as interesting as the piece! I enjoyed using theory to look deeper into how an author works because this short story was particularly interesting and I WANTED to know more about this particular author. Happy finals and may the odds be ever in you favor!
I believe I have decided to do my paper on Tobias Wolff’ bullet in the brain, but I am not sure as to when it was published, I believe it was within the last years, but could’ve been late 90’s. I want to use the concept of flat and round characters to explore this story.
The articles by Bellow and Popova brought up some interesting points about symbolism that I suppose I always knew, but never took the time to look into. When considering symbolism in the past I was usually just trying to “find” it in a particular piece or decode the more obvious sets of symbolism rather than the thought process the author was going through when constructing the piece and whether the symbolism was intentional or genuine. The debate on whether an author intentionally puts symbolism into a piece can definitely be an intricate one with many answers. Bellow argued that some literary works couldn’t survive without certain symbols. This statement is completely true and perhaps the fact that the authors of these works know how to “construct” a symbol is why these pieces are so famous and widely studied. If we didn’t have these strong symbols in these pieces would they be worth talking about? I would like to think that someday I could write something where symbols came into my writing naturally and effortlessly, but I haven’t written enough to know what that would like or feel like for that matter or if that’s how it happens for any writer.
I feel that some “symbols” are constructed by the reader and not the author. I say this because if every writer analyzed each and every word that they wrote as closely as the readers do it would take the author an eternity to ever complete a piece. I’m sure a writer would drive themselves crazy trying to put a greater meaning behind every statement, question, or description. This is a concept that is backed up by “Death of the Author” because readers are just, if not more, important to a piece than the author is. Even if a writer spends years trying to put the perfect symbol into a piece to make it original or ground breaking it wouldn’t matter if the reader didn’t understand. As a writer you have to keep in mind your audience and what they know and what they’re bringing to the piece. It’s true that writing would exist without a reader, but it wouldn’t have any true meaning because it would never be conveying a thought or bringing something to fruition. I feel that in symbolism the reader is everything. Whether the symbolism is intentional or not the reader is the one that dissects the meaning of the words and tests them from different angles and decides if the symbols are accomplishing their true goal without being farfetched or damaging to the flow of the piece.
Chick lit and dude lit stereotypes absolutely exist. After reading the articles debating the Franzen controversy it’s easy to see why people might be upset about the enormous amount of hype surrounding the book “Freedom.” Writing about family dynamics is not a new hot topic it’s something that has been going on for as long as the written word has existed. Franzen is most likely a talented and accomplished writer, but what is that seems to be making the critics bow down and kiss the ground he’s walking on? It seems unfair that a male can write a piece that may almost mirror a piece written by a female and that male is applauded endlessly for it. Perhaps in the literary world, or the entire world for that matter, it’s easy to see that males are not typically found to be well versed on things like family, or emotional issues so when they venture into that end of the pool they are applauded for it because we thought they might never do it or that their toes might not touch the bottom and out of sheer surprise we clap our hands. I might be too harsh, but this same concept goes for female writers as well. There are certain topics like the human condition and issues of war or battle that we would be more intrigued to see a female venture out and dive into than the male population that has written that story a thousand times over.
I think that once you put a label on something it has the potential of offending someone, somewhere especially if you slap a little slang on it in the form of “chick” or “dude.” The term chick lit leaves a crummy taste in my mouth because it makes the thought of reading a woman writer “weak” and you probably won’t get a sufficient amount of content from the piece. It’s unfortunate that words like chick make something seem less than it is, but dude does the same thing for me in the fact that it makes me think of a bum surfer without a job. Chalk it up to conditioning. It would be spectacular to live in a world where literature had no gender and we could read something completely bias free of the sex that wrote it. Since this will never happen we have to at least drop the horrible stereotypical names if we ever hope of respecting the author on the other side and not giving ridiculous praise to ideas that are truly not innovative, but we were just shocked to see the source.