Linked Questions

47
votes
7answers
9k views

What is Tom Bombadil's importance in The Lord of the Rings?

Tom Bombadil is definitely one of the weirdest characters in all of The Lord of the Rings, he just comes out of nowhere, stumbling upon Frodo and Sam while singing. His actions are just incredibly ...
20
votes
7answers
7k views

Understanding political subtexts in the Turing test paper

Alan Turing's article "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" (which you can read online) is commonly interpreted as introducing the Turing test. Briefly, the Turing test is when you have two computer ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are Orcs associated with the colors red, yellow, and black in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, Sauron, and characters allied with Sauron, are frequently associated with the colors red, yellow, and black. For example, here is a description of the ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Ray Bradbury says Fahrenheit 451 isn't about censorship. Is he right?

According to this question about Ray Bradbury's intentions, Ray Bradbury did not intend for Fahrenheit 451 to be about government censorship, and went so far as to say "Fuck you" to someone who argued ...
14
votes
2answers
8k views

What does the raven symbolize (besides death)?

Whenever I ask a friend about the symbolism of the Raven from The Raven, they always seem to say death. Is that the only thing the Raven is meant to symbolize?
11
votes
1answer
8k views

What does Narcissa Malfoy's name say about her character?

Many of the names in the Harry Potter series are chosen so as to reflect some trait of their character. For example: Sirius Black the black dog, Remus Lupin the wolf, Severus the severe teacher, Luna ...
17
votes
1answer
912 views

How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis?

When people analyze literature, one of the first things people seem to do is look for interviews or quotes from the author where the author describes the meaning they intended their text to have. My ...
12
votes
2answers
586 views

How much weight should we give authors' declarations of their intent after the fact?

Very closely related: How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis? Related (as an example of what I'm talking about): Is there any textual evidence to support that ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Is Bob Dylan's “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” supposed to be uplifting or mournful?

I've become interested in Bob Dylan's song "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", which I find perplexing and hard to make sense of. Looking at the lyrics, it seems that there is quite a bit of ambiguity as to ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What is close reading?

What exactly is "close reading"? How does it relate to the study of literature? Are there any instructions about how to do a close reading of a text/passage?
3
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the meaning of these lines about love from “Desiderata”?

What is the message being delivered through these lines in "Desiderata" by the poet Max Ehrmann? Especially do not feign affection Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Why are the magicians who captured Morpheus “rubbish”?

Neil Gaiman is on record saying the people who captured Morpheus in issue #1 (i.e. Roderick Burgess and the Order of the Ancient Mysteries) are completely rubbish, English, sort of Crowley-esque, ...
5
votes
1answer
72 views

“wind” or “wind”? re: Little Gidding, II.50

yet the words sufficed To compel the recognition they preceded. And so, compliant to the common wind, Too strange to each other for misunderstanding, In concord at this intersection time ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Do literature interpretations actually reflect what the author had in mind? [duplicate]

I read an article about a writer who was asked about the interpretation of one of his books, and he had a hard time coming up with something that would be aligned with the expectations of the jury. ...