Friday, September 7, 2012

The Author's Intent

Asherel and I are reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. I am not sure I ever read that growing up, but it is a remarkable book. It is very difficult to read quickly- intense vocabulary with words so advanced we need to look up at least ten each reading session, complex sentences, continual reliance on symbolism which is critical to understanding the plot, and a difficult, nuanced message. I am loving it. I am not sure Asherel is. But it is a perfect book to work through in teaching Literary Analysis, because there is so much to analyze!

I remember long ago being very skeptical when teachers first started trying to convince me that authors purposely used names with specific meanings to advance the thesis, or that all the symbolism was also purposeful and not a happy accident. When I read enough great literature to begin to see how often great authors manipulated words, symbols, names, characters, and settings to mirror the message, I became enthralled. I wanted to be able to do that do. I could not stop reading. I still can't. I love to read. I find every well written book to be an adventure, trying to see how clever the author is in her use of all the tools that craftily point me to understanding what she wants to say. If nothing else comes of all my homeschool efforts this year, I hope and pray that I can help spark that wonder of discovering the author's intent in Asherel.

And what happened to me as a result, or perhaps it was always within me, is I began to see that the Greatest Author of All does exactly the same thing. The world all around me is filled with symbols, characters, and settings that craftily point me to His Message. If nothing else comes of all my parenting efforts this lifetime, I hope and pray that I can help spark the wonder of discovering that Heavenly Author's Intent in Asherel, and in all my loved ones.

Psalm 19:1-4,14 (NIV)
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. [2] Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. [3] They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. [4] Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. [14] May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

-save a dog-

1 comment:

  1. I love that about the Bible too - when I first discovered that Ruth and Orpah's husbands had names that meant "sick" and "pining", I started looking up the meanings of all the names of everything. God sure does layer the details, doesn't He? I get that same excitement to mine all the goodness out of His word!