on being an english major

10:58:00 AM

The other day Kory and I were talking about something that I was reading for class and I was telling him about a class discussion we had about all the possible meanings behind the text. After talking for a while Kory finally asked "do you think the author actually meant all that stuff?" The short answer? No. Sometimes, and this is fairly rare, but sometimes I just feel like standing up in class and saying "guys, it probably doesn't mean anything, maybe its just supposed to be pretty." I think the world that we live in sort of demands that there be reason and calculation behind beauty. I tend to think that maybe the reason and calculation were put in so we could just enjoy the beauty. Maybe somebody put in all the work so we could just enjoy it. I think this Walt Whitman poem pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter...


When I heard the learn’d astronomer;   
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;   
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;   
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,   
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;           
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,   
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,   
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

I bet astronomers forget to look at the beauty of what they're doing sometimes. And I know that English majors forget sometimes. And it makes me think that maybe we forget to see the beauty in everything.


also, I don't remember where I found this but I thought it was very nice.


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2 comments

  1. I love this! I always thought the same thing in high school English classes. Then I realized that maybe those meanings weren't intentionally put there by the authors, but that it kind of made it even better. LIterature is art.

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  2. Oh my gosh I have been thinking this for so long!! Why oh why must we interpret everything? I feel like there is no way the authors ALWAYS have some hidden meaning for us to decipher. Seriously I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks this.

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