Hmmm. I see this graphic being reblogged all over the place. And while I went through a phase where I believed that it mattered (while reading The Scarlet Letter, most notably) I no longer agree with this dismissive attitude towards interpretation versus authorial intent. Art does not exist in a vacuum; it’s shaped by the culture it was created in and demands examination beyond the curtains were blue. How people interpret art is more interesting at times than the art itself.
Art often lies in the interpretation. Would The Great Gatsby be such a classic if we took it simply as a story well-written story about rich white folks screwing up their lives? No—but it is perceived as an indictment of the Jazz Age, and takes on significance as a result. Authorial intent matters, to be sure, but interpretation and criticism is uniquely helpful in understanding the impact of a work, and in examining the details that make a piece stand apart from the rest.
In short: when the author wrote that the curtains were blue, that may be all that he meant. But to the careful reader, they symbolize something greater; the fact that this character observed those blue curtains provides insight into the way the character thinks and his/her state of mind. And there’s nothing fucking wrong with that.
s e r i o u s l y. there’s a reason why so many authors take forever to write books. they are just writing down a story but a complex web of symbols involving the correct word choice, correct sentence structure, correct everything. it’s hard as fuck. don’t mess.