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Susan Sontag
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Susan Sontag, in "Against Interpretation," takes a very interesting critical standpoint on the idea of literary interpretation. Unlike most literary critics, Sontag believes that literary criticism is growing increasingly destructive towards the very works of art that they, supposedly, so greatly "appreciate" and "respect." Her standpoint could not be more accurate. Reading her work generates numerous questions, the most important of which is quite possibly, "How are we to take her final statement, 'In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.'" In the light of her previous statements, made throughout the work, one could only see this...
"Yes, Sontag meant to make just such a jab at the modern interpreter." Nevertheless, when adequate thought is applied to the situation one is forced to ask how else she could have more effectively driven home her point.

It is practically necessary to meet someone on their terms first if you hope to convert them to yours. Sontag has done this because she has little other choice. She has so effectively made her point, with the proper amount of respect, that her target, the modern critic, is in no position to resent Sontag's statements without first acknowledging their veracity.

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Life is a dramatic subject that...Life is a dramatic subject that many writers choose as a topic. Life is not only an ocean of melancholy but also offers real joy. Earnest Hemingway successfully won a Nobel Prize on this theme by writing The Old Man and the Sea. The old man, Santiago, was the main character of the story. During his lonely journey out at sea, he learned that life offered him an undeniable joy, plus frustration. Honor, heroism, and struggle were obstacles Santiago encountered which provided him courage and faith. For instance, Santiago's life was filled with honor. The past and the present were memories for which the old man was most proud. The old man endured tremendous physical pain and leading him to almost give up. To encourage himself, the old man remembered the time when he was El Campeon, which mean The Champion in Spanish. "For a long time after that everyone had called him The Champion" pg. 70. The memory of being a victor revived Santiago's stamina, encouraging him to seek another goal. His next goal, the Marlin, ultimately challenged him. "Fish"¦I'll stay with you until I am dead." pg. 52. At the moment when Santiago harpooned the Marlin through the heart, he knew that he was victorious. This act realistically sobered Santiago; he gained more honor and self-confidence. As a result, Santiago's life was filled with a feeling of nobility. Furthermore, Santiago often talked about his hero. It was Joe DiMaggio, a famous and eminent baseball player. Joe DiMaggio directly and indirectly affected the old man. His actions and his attitudes contributed to the old man's life. "But I must have the confidence and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio." Pg. 68. Thinking about DiMaggio showed the old man the way to victory. His worship of DiMaggio woke the courage that was within the old man's heart. As Santiago thought the ultimate challenge was over, the worse was yet to come. The shark had sensed the Marlin's blood and moved after it. It approached and ate the Marlin. The old man had to fight back with them. "Fight them. I'll fight them until I die." Pg. 115. Santiago used all of his supplies to fight with the shark: harpoon, tiller, etc. By the time Santiago came back to Havana, the Marlin now was just a carcass bone. The sharks played an important role in the story. Its presence determined the loss of prize to the old man and a moment of regrets. In fact, it also demonstrated the ideal that fame just came and slipped away. In conclusion, the story of Santiago was absolutely an example of life. Life was so precious. It just went up and down left to its civilization many deep scars. It also offered fame but swiftly retook it. On the other hand, with the loss of prize, the old man has been given another gift from life. The gift was called faith.   

Life is a dramatic subject that many writers choose as a topic. Life is not only an ocean of melancholy but also offers real joy. Earnest Hemingway successfully won a Nobel Prize on this theme by writing The Old Man and the Sea. The old man, Santiago, was the main...

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Though Conrad did not learn English...Though Conrad did not learn English until he was twenty-one, he still mastered the language and artfully uses it in Heart of Darkness. One sentence of his is particularly striking, as it sums up the views that he condemns throughout the novella. The accountant, one of the first imperialists Marlow meets, says to him, "When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate these savages"”hate them to the death." This sentence is a perfect example of the typical imperialistic belief that Marlow denounces, and serves as a synecdoche for the entire work. One important characteristic of imperialistic belief is the impersonality that makes imperialism happen. The repetition of the word "one" is significant because it shows that detachment. The imperialists try to appease their consciences by making the natives less than human. Marlow and Kurtz are both exceptions to this ideal, but in contrasting ways. Kurtz uses fear to belittle the natives, but does not take away their humanity. Marlow, however, considers the natives to be humans and respects their work ethics and humanity. Both Kurtz and Marlow in fact find great relationships with natives: Kurtz with his African mistress, and Marlow with his helmsman, to whom he was "a devoted friend". This important difference in attitude between Marlow and Kurtz and the typical imperialist is an integral part of the novella. The phrase "hate them to the death" also shows the dehumanization of the native Africans. When looked at for its literal meaning, this clause suggests that until the natives die, there can be no emotion for them but hate. It is an easy ideal to follow, and makes the complete oppression more easily forgiven for the imperialists. Marlow, however, once again has a contrasting opinion. When he visits the black grove of death, he feels pity for the men who are no longer human enough to die in peace, but must remove themselves to a deserted place where they cannot be downtrodden. The accountant is merely disturbed by the presence of a dying man where he must make his "correct entries". This passage shows the businesslike nature of imperialism once again, as the numbers of the business are more important to the white men, excluding Marlow, than the humanity of it. This sentence serves as an embodiment of the imperialist theory as whole, which Conrad attacks, through Marlow, throughout the novella. Marlow wholeheartedly disagrees with the treatment of the natives, because he has a strong belief in the importance of work ethic and the sacredness of humanity, as shown by his sympathy for his helmsman, and also for Kurtz's Intended. The imperialists, such as the manager and the accountant, have only a fickle loyalty to what or whoever is the most profitable connection. Because of Marlow's belief in the native's humanity, the imperialists throughout the novella condemn him. Though this one sentence seems unimportant, in fact it is an integral part of the novel. Conrad is displaying a simple, easily understood theory that he then illustrates. Here, one of few times in the story, Conrad avoids clouding his belief and makes a thorough examination both plausible and, indeed, interesting. The accountant's statement epitomizes imperialistic beliefs which Conrad, in his sense of humanity, condemns.   

Though Conrad did not learn English until he was twenty-one, he still mastered the language and artfully uses it in Heart of Darkness. One sentence of his is particularly striking, as it sums up the views that he condemns throughout the novella. The accountant, one of the first imperialists Marlow...

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