Why is literature so dirty….

Born to be Wilde

Interpretation is a funny thing.

This realization came to me today (no it didn’t come today, it came to me a while ago but it secured itself in my brain today) because of a lecture. The book we had to read for this lecture is called Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehman. It’s essentially a coming of age narrative, the protagonist evolves (kind of) through these elicit, implied sexual desires she has and never acts upon. It can be seen as a study of imagination through inexperience. She imagines all of these events, even ones which do not include herself. She decides that she falls in love with various other characters, and yet when something could or is about to happen, she stops it. It is as though she likes not having these experiences and is completely unaware that the male characters sexualise her and are aroused by her. She is naive and inexperienced. However, one thing which I did not pick up on, which my lecturer spent a good 15 minutes talking about, was the sexual relationship the character has with water. On first reading I saw it as simply enjoyment, but after hearing this interpretation I can now only see the one scene as erotic and emotive.

And this got me thinking. It’s amazing how we all interpret experiences and events in our lives differently. When discussing with one person who had the same experience and how they turn it into their own narrative. This realization made me think I need to pay more attention to the thoughts and experiences of those around me.

(It seems that these blogs end up with me telling you why I love reading, but here it is.)

And that’s why I love reading. Everyone has a different opinion, a different gaze which causes a different interpretation. And there is nothing better than finding a person who also has that gaze. So keep sharing experiences (especially about reading) and see if you can find someone you can debate into the night with.

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