Are We Killing Literature?

In the introduction in The Annotated Alice, Gilbert K. Chesterton was quoted as to being extremely fearful to the over-analyzation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He believes that Alice has been “forced to inflict lessons on others” and has become “not only a school girl but a school mistress”.

Martin Gardner, on the other hand, believes that “jokes are not funny unless you see the point of it”.

Both men bring up good points for the two opposing sides.

What do you think?

  • Are we destroying great literary works by over-analyzing them?
  • Should we even analyze stories at all?

3 Responses to “Are We Killing Literature?”

  1. Edward C. Says:

    I believe you should analyze stories to understand the meaning of them. But some people analyze stories to the point that they find things that were not meant by the author. It is important to understand the purpose of the author’s writings but on the other hand over analyzing can disrupt the original purpose of the author. So I guess what I am saying is it is good to analyze stories but be careful to over analyze.

  2. There’s a difference between analyzing and over-analyzing. For the sake of sanity, sometimes we have to analyze and pick apart meanings for us to grasp the full meaning of the joke or reference. But there are a lot of times when people just destroy a good story by picking it apart bit by bit and then leaving it in shambles. It’s really up to an individual as to whether or not they analyze a story. It’s their choice to dig in to the story or just read it’s surface.

  3. Lindsay R. Says:

    I completely agree with Martin Gardner. Jokes aren’t funny unless you understand them. To understand some of the references in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland you need to understand the background of them. To do this you would need to analyze the story. Gilbert K. Chesterson makes a good point too. We don’t need to over analyze the story to find the point of the joke. Over analyzing will ruin the original story that people want to read. We should analyze until we understand the joke, but stop after we understand.

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