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COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE
The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.
In this study guide for a well-known piece of literature, we have tried to
give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found
in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation,
but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented
in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher
may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict.
Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained
within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours. So is the interpretation
of your teacher or professor.