Well, it's happened. I have encountered my first maddening academic moment. I am taking a Lit course, and of course, in a lit course a horse is not a horse, of course, of course. We are studying 19th century Lit, and right now we are discussion Jane Austen's Persuasion, and I'm sorry, I am apparently some kind of Philistine or Troglodyte or something. Howcome it's not just a story about a woman who found out she didn't have to be an old maid after all? Why does it need to be about feminist ideals or autonomy from formerly feudal societies or things like that? It's just a story! It's a good one, too.
But ... see ... the people who study these things as a lifetime's pursuit -- they're not so easily dismissed, these people. For them, the novel is a fascinating specimen on the table, to be dissected and pulled apart and put under various lights. I get that. I understand the fascination, and I respect their expertise. But I think this is why I could never be an English Lit major, or for that matter, a novelist. I haven't got the stomach for it. It seems so ... well, it seems so detached. Characters in my favorite novels are people in my mind, and it bothers me to have them made into constructs.