Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I strove to love you in the old high way of love...

With this argument of socially constructed views on love, I could also say that meaning itself can be quite subjective. I have posed the question to people of other majors of whether the real meaning of something is in the person's intentions with their words or actions OR the way that another person construes the words or actions. In other words, where is the real meaning? Is it what you meant when you said it, or how the other person took it? People always tell me that the meaning is in the person's intentions. But let me back up a little before I say why I disagree...
I'm a literature major, which basically means that I'm an art major. It's not all that practical in the "real world," but for matters like this, I find it to be quite relevant. While listening to my roommate's violin recital today, I was thinking that one of her songs reminded me of rain falling. But I'm certain that isn't what the composer intended because the title was something to do with a dance--some word I can't recall that reminded me of obelisk. And I wondered what imagery that song brought to Ryan or anyone else for that matter because I'm certain we would think of different things. Perhaps this is different than literature, but since I'm a poet, and I make everything into a metaphor, I take the differing ways that we approach or understand literature to be the same concept. When I read the poem "Adam's Curse" by W.B. Yeats last year, the poem made me think that anything worth having is not going to be easy. But that's where my life was at the time. That's my general outlook on life. So I wrote an essay about how love takes work, but it is worth it! AND in that same class, I wrote another essay on a Frost poem "To Earthward" that, again, I was drawn to because Frost says "I crave the stain of tears, the aftermark of almost too much love." I felt that Frost was saying that when you let love in, you also let the bad in; it's inevitable and it's bittersweet. My life had taught me these very lessons.
So why do I mention all of this? Whatever intentions Frost and Yeats had with their poems may or may not have been accomplished, so it does no good to focus too much on their intentions. An author's intentions definitely weighs on the meaning of something, and I would never argue that any interpretation of a text is valid. BUT it just goes to show you that our social background that we bring into something determines what we take the meaning of something to be.
If I say, "I love you," what does that mean? In my head, I might be saying, "I love you like a brother," but Bob Snickerdoodle might be thinking I mean, "I love you, and I want to have your children." Obviously, my intentions matter, but Bob's take on my words, provided that he is using evidence of my body language and actions, are valid too.
It gets tricky. Again with defending the "love languages," I'll say that we have been socially constructed to value certain "love languages" over others. When I write poems and give them to people, I mean it in the most sincere way. It's sad to think that someone may not value my words because words of affirmation mean less to them than they do to me. He or she wouldn't understand that what I'm saying is I love you this much that I would devote myself to language, syntax and punctuation to try to explain my love to you. It's an act of service, and it's a gift. Well, this is why we are all so confused. We think we are showing our love, but really, the other person isn't getting it. And who is to blame? Where is the real meaning found? Is the real meaning in my intention when I write a poem to someone, or is the meaning in the way that the other person construes (or misconstrues) my poetry? Cuz after all, who knows if what I intended for the text was even accomplished?

1 comment:

Teddi said...

Jess, so cool that you have a blogger also. I book marked you and will continue reading.