Apologies for the Delay

Hello everyone! I apologize for the delay in posting. I have a few book reviews to catch up with (including a very late wrap-up post on Candide – sorry!). I hope to get it all done by the end of this coming week. This is just a bad time of the semester for me. So much to do, and so little time. But you can be rest assured that I have not abandoned you 🙂

Was Your English Lit Teacher Wrong About Symbolism?

101 Books

You always wondered if your college lit professor was just making crap up.

Turns out, maybe they were.

This article from The Paris Review offers a revealing take by many famous authors on how much symbolism played a part in their work.

Their comments were prompted by a letter from a 16-year-old Bruce McCallister in 1963. He was tired of the constant find-the-symbolism game in English class, so he took it upon himself to ask them what the big deal was with symbolism.

He mailed a simple four-question survey to more than 150 novelists. About half of them responded. The responses were varied, but most of the authors seemed to think symbolism is overanalyzed. Their comments were awesome:

The survey included the following questions:

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Adventure Beckons in The Wind in the Willows

rat-and-mole

Adventure is always calling in The Wind in the Willows. Mr. Toad dreams of speeding along paved roads in a motorcar, Mole longs to row a boat on the River Thames, and Ratty is enchanted by the Sea Rat’s travels.

Animals that are the most suited for one kind of environment do not belong in another. Yet, Kenneth Grahame’s animals in The Wind in the Willows are quite anthropomorphic. At times, characters like Mr. Toad can even pass themselves off as human. Late December and early January – when one year comes to a close and a potentially more exciting new year begins – are indeed the best times to read this novel. Stuck between the memory of the past and the expectations of the future, the reader will feel the most in company with the animals of the Thames Valley.