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DancingMind's avatar

What's the purpose of writing about other works?

Asked by DancingMind (5812 points ) March 13th, 2011

I understand writing to make a point, I understand using another written, or whatever medium, of piece from someone else as support.

But I don’t understand interperative essays on books and poems, and having assignment after assignment of writing about dictionsyntaximagery.

I guess it would be one thing if I was able to just pump these assignments out, but I don’t seem to be able to, and the more I try to and the more I get stuck the more I wonder where the necessity is in it. The piece being disected is better and deeper and says more than any essay taking out a single thread from its essence ever will… So why do we do it?

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10 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

To demonstrate that you understand and appreciate what the work is about and that you are capable of expressing that. ~and know where to put spaces in words

flutherother's avatar

If you are not interested in it then there isn’t much point other than to pass an exam, but writing about a work of art which moves you can be quite an emotional experience in itself and reading what others have written can give you new insights into a poem or a painting.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Literary criticism adds a reflective element to reading; there is more at play than just the words on the page. The ability to think critically is tied to reasoning, analysis and interpretation. It extends past literature, and teaches you to reflect on what’s really going on.

seazen_'s avatar

Love what has been written above me.

And welcome @ruby below me :-)

RubyB's avatar

I just finished a good Harper’s article about Mark Twain’s recently published autobiography, which I’ve already read (most of it anyway). The author of the article contributed many biographical details that I didn’t know, and details about how and why Twain wrote the autobiography, and what the editors who just published it did to it. I enjoyed Twain’s book. I’ll enjoy it more on the second read now.

12Oaks's avatar

I always wondered the same thing about someone who takes photos of art, like a statue, then claim the photo to be the work of art and the picture taker the artist. As for writing, it is so open to subjection an interpretation that how you take something may vary from a teacher, resulting in an F, simply because the teacher interprets it differently. I hate Shakespeare, teacher loves him. You say you hate it and why, simply disagreement gets you an F. It is the system that fails.

mrentropy's avatar

I feel for you. I had an English teacher who went through just about every page in The Great Gatsby pointing things out to the point where it became a trivia hunt (“Her name is Daisy. ‘Day’s Eye.’ You never see her at night. Get it? Get it?”) and I didn’t understand it then, either. It was at that point where I swore I’d write the great American novel that would be required reading in schools which would seem to be very deep in meaning, yet completely meaningless just to piss off everybody. I, uh, never made good on that oath.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mrentropy Wow, that’s the level of symbolism at which you can no longer be sure that the author did that intentionally, and it’s just insane to expect every student to get it.

drdoombot's avatar

I write about other works for my own benefit. It forces me to organize my thoughts on a work, analyze them, come to conclusions etc. Most importantly, it helps me to remember it so I’m not forced to re-read years later!

Inspired_2write's avatar

It offers us an insight into another perspective .
Futhers understanding .

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