Interpretation is in the Eyes of the Individual

Quite frequently, I doubt myself. I question my interpretations of a text, and I also compare my thoughts to others which leads me to doubt my abilities as a writer and a thinker.

Upon embarking on Professor McCoy’s English 203, I prematurely read through the class syllabus. While I read through the syllabus for a class I had yet to even experience, I came across McCoy’s message to sign up for a so-called English department account. After my first failed attempt at thoroughly reading her directions in order to make this account, I emailed her. This uncertainty was likely a misunderstanding on my end rather than a miscommunication on Professor McCoy’s side. Through our various email correspondences, Professor McCoy helped me arrive at the conclusion through Percival Everett’s quote that “it’s incredible that a sentence is ever understood” (Erasure). In life, there are times where ideas, statements, and general knowledge can be so easily misinterpreted. This misunderstanding can lead to my own self-doubt, which is unnecessary as there are various pathways of interpretation.

The combined idea of self-doubt and misinterpretation can be very easily applied to the meme of the “Suspicious Pants”, posted on Twitter by an account entitled “You Had One Job”. Upon first glance, I simply saw a pair of pants upside down with its pockets facing down. However, through both class and group discussions, I dug deeper and landed upon various, interesting interpretations. With the combination of all ideas, my class and I identified a creepy face, an Annoying Orange, a pair of pants suspicious of us, and a face with scissor lips.

Each of these thoughts range in their creativity. We can either give the pants a personality and assume that this clothing item is suspicious of its viewers, or we can assume that we are the ones meant to be suspicious of a pair of pants. We can either see a face with its black button eyes and stapled smile, or we can see the Annoying Orange’s face.

As I sit down now to do this blog post assignment, my eyes are drawn once again to the epigraph. The account’s title catches my eyes and I note a distinct juxtaposition. There is an identified difference between understanding who the individual is in saying that such person had one job. I cannot tell if the pair of pants had one job, or if I personally failed to execute my job in properly interpreting this item.

The beauty of interpretation is that there is no final answer; interpretation is in the eyes of the individual.

So frequently, I feel that my opinion is wrong or that I am reading a text improperly. This feeling has become more evident for me through class discussions of Frenzy. While I uncover bits and pieces of information that I assume are valuable, my fellow peers somehow dig even deeper and land upon ideas I have never thought of. During my group’s in-class discussion, I wondered who Hera was and what her motives were to freeze Semele. Hera is said to have “touched the frozen beauty of Semele’s face”, which I could not understand (Everett 13). I thought she was simply manipulative and that she just did not favor Semele. However, through group discussion, my peers informed me that Hera essentially wanted to hurt anyone who came into contact with Dionysus. While during our class time I felt somewhat discouraged, for this assignment I feel the ability to be more open-minded.

In applying the idea of open interpretation to my job as a student in class this semester, I need to remind myself that there is no such thing as being wrong. I need to stop myself from accumulating any feelings of self-doubt. Just as our class’s pronunciation of the word “elementary” shows, there is no correct answer. While I may pronounce this term as being “try”, a peer of mine can pronounce the phrase as being “ta-ary”. Neither of these is wrong, but it is because we are told neither of these answers is wrong. We are not bound by a set of rules that guide us in a correct direction. Each of our responses are solely dependent on our upbringing and hometown.

In this course, rather than compare my responses to the various ways other students respond to questions and readings, I will analyze my own work and develop each idea. The quality and value of my statement or point is most significant. Following these ideas will help me become stronger as a writer both in this course and as an evaluator of work.

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