Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sometimes You Have to Let Great Art Wash Over You

When I was teaching a class on science fiction one of my students, who shall remain nameless, asked me why we had to analyze all of these stories and films, picking them apart for things like symbolism, themes and so forth. Why couldn't we just enjoy them as entertainment? Had my mind been a bit quicker on its feet (so to speak) that night, I might have responded with something like this:

There's absolutely no reason why you can't just enjoy a book or movie or TV show for its entertainment value. However, if this is the only thing you enjoy then you're missing out.
It's as if I told you that I really loved my wife's nose. In fact, her nose is what made me fall in love with her and I really just enjoy being in the presence of her nose.
"But, Tom", you might respond, "I've met your wife and though she has a wonderful nose, she has many other qualities you might also enjoy. She has a charming manner and a delightful sense of humor. Her figure is quite lovely and she has beautiful eyes and an enchanting smile. She is warm and loving and spending time with her is a delight."
If after you had shown me all of these wonderful things I had been missing I were to reply, "But can't I just enjoy her for her nose?", then feel free to smack me silly.

No comments: