Literature Can Communicate Before It Is Understood

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I, like many other people, have been more than a little dismayed when I have read poems or other literary works that I did not have the slightest notion as to what it actually meant. Even without a concrete understanding of the work’s meaning, I could still gain some knowledge as to the overall idea or purpose of the work just from an initial reading. Literature has the capacity to communicate before it is understood, as it is certainly possible for a work to convey emotion and feeling without the reader fully comprehending the complete meaning of a work. Emotion can tell you more about a piece of literature than factual knowledge. Within the first few lines of a poem, you should be able to feel whatever sensation the author wants you to; fear for a lost child, heartbreak over an ended love, or joy at a victory. Completely understanding the theme of a work is not imperative to comprehending the plot. Literature can communicate through emotion and not concrete knowledge, yet it is communicating nonetheless. Every so often, the leading impression a reader gets is the most accurate and helps them to develop the best mental image when reading a piece of literature. “Our first reading of a work, when, so to speak, we are all eyes and ears (and the mind is highly receptive rather than sifting for evidence), is sometimes the most important reading” (Barnet, Cain, and Burto. 102). Whether or not the reader fully comprehends what the author is expressing in the writing is irrelevant; the initial impression will unequivocally define the tone or mood of the poem for them. In Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘To His Coy Mistress,’ I assumed at first that it was the author retelling some of the sweet things he had said to the woman he loved. When I read it a second time I tried to look at it in a more analytical light. I concluded that he what he was actually saying was that if they had all the time in the world, he would wait as long as she wanted, but alas, they did not. I also...
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