“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell him to read the story.” –Flannery O’Connor in “Writing Short Stories”
Guilty as charged. I ask students to think about meaning, theme, and characters all the time. It’s my job. We pull it apart, but in that process something is definitely lost. Rarely do we just suggest someone go back and read the story. We’re losing the art. The romance. The wonder.
“The high school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present…And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.” — Flannery O’Connor
Read the whole essay here.