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Meaning, Interpretation, and Tension in Literature

:: 6 Works Cited
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"Iraqi Head Seeks Arms." (Pinker, p. 69) Quiproquo, double entendre, pun. These are instances of finding more than one possible meaning to an event, most often a phrase. We can't read Shakespeare, or Molière, or the works of many other authors if we don't believe that something can have more than one meaning. "There is no topic in philosophy that has received more attention than meaning, in its multifarious manifestations." (Dennett, p. 401) Meaning is one of our most intimate bedfellows – it is always in our minds. In Webster's Third New International Dictionary, meaning is defined as follows;
1meaning 1a: The thing one intends to convey by an act or esp. by language b: the thing that is conveyed or signified esp. by language: the sense in which something (as a statement) is understood 2: The thing that is meant or intended: INTENT, PURPOSE, AIM, OBJECT

It is especially interesting that there is a difference between 1a and 1b in this definition, because this implies that there can be at least two meanings for a given event or utterance; what the meaner intends, and what the wi...


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...pefully our understanding will evolve and expand as more information becomes available.

Works Cited:

Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. New York; Philomel. 1969.

Culler, Jonathon. Literary Theory. New York; Oxford. 1997.

Dennett, Daniel. Darwin's Dangerous Idea. New York; Touchstone, 1995.

Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. New York; Basic Books. 1979

Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York; Basic Books, 2001.

Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct. New York; HarperCollins, 1994.

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