> If a student came to me with an apparently absurdly unjustifiable
> rather than generating a negative learning response, I would investigate
> occasioned that response by the student, and do my best to turn it into
> a positive learning occcasion, or adjust my own view if the student's
> response turned
> out to have justification. In effect NO response to a poem is wrong.
But "justification" is the key; if there is no meaning, how can an
interpretation be justified? Or would you say that any "apparently
absurdly unjustifiable interpretation" can be justified by simply "it's
what I think, so there"?
> Who was it who said something like
> A poem must not mean but BE.
There are many famous quotations that are also rather stupid.
> I agree that it is absurd to make students agree with one's own opinion,
> but in fact that absurdity is perpetrated ALL the time by many in power
> in academia. The fact that they tend not to be stood up to and challenged
It pays to rethink things, to listen to new opinions, to keep an open
mind. But to say "any opinion is equally valid" is, I think, rather
daft: I can tell you that black is white, but I would be wrong. This is
not a matter of opinion. Yes, we should question values,
interpretations, common knowledge. But we should also be prepared to
answer those questions.