Herman Wouk's The Winds of War How Should One Read A Book?

Herman Wouk's The Winds of War How Should One Read A Book?

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Herman Wouk's  The Winds of War - How Should One Read A Book?


    While reading Herman Wouk's classic tale, The Winds of War, I came

across several passages describing a young man's vision of Germany.

Although the author supplies me with his ideas, his desire and his

provocative details on how this young Major views Germany at the time of

the second world war, I still find myself wondering and questioning aspects

of the written text before me. Apart from being drawn from my sub-conscious

state to a more subtle and unconscious condition, several questions begin

to from within my mind. Have I ever seen Germany before? What were the

political conditions? What did the SS Stormtroopers look like? What did a

concentration camp reveal? By triggering these sensors and somewhat

emotional queries within me, the author has already caused a clockwork

cycle to commence which will enlighten my reading and eventually create

enjoyment and furthering interests with his novel. This is what Virginia

Woolf focuses her composition about and emphasizes so very clearly


    After reading her essay, I came to grasp and understand her theory that

one is best not to accept advice from another on how to read literature,

since the best advice is no advice at all. Woolf expresses the conception

that when one begins to read literature he begins to enter different stages

of interpretation that will ultimately improve his pleasure and

satisfaction. It was obvious to me that I had in fact indulged in forms of

interpretation when reading literature, but it had never dawned on me until

reading Woolf's essay. Whenever I am subjected to something in literature

that is not fully comprehensive, I begin to engage in several different

forms of interpretation. The first stage would reflect much of the

philosophy composed in the essay 'Against Interpretation' whereas I, the

reader, would observe the content and then translate the form. Literature

induces the reader to use his experience and memories to comprehend what a

person, place or thing is and then interpret it. Th econd stage would

involve translating where one begins a comparison sequence trying to link

their past knowledge with the subject introduced by the author.

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It is this

comparison which creates a variation of ways in which every person reads or

understands literature. Therefore, each individual is different in respects

to forms of interpretation based on their past experiences and knowledge.

It can be true to say that every man is only made up of his memories. I

would therefore agree with Woolf's analogy that there is no greater gift

than that of literature. Somehow, I felt illuminated by obtaining an

insight from Woolf in respects to how man must remain a reader and not a

critic. Every person on this world develops, is raised and educated

differently and it is this difference that makes literature so enigmatic

and complex.


    I often find myself so deeply absorbed into a novel that the world

constructed within my mind, through my unique form of interpretation, is so

terribly realistic I cannot stop reading the book. My entire being is

enthralled by the work of this particular author who, through his style and

form of writing, has managed to throw me into an abyss of subconscious

interpretation. Woolf stresses the importance of how each individual

creates different visions and reactions to literature that lead to a

conclusion brought upon their own methods of interpretation. Although my

own method of reading has not been altered after reading her essay, it

allows me to put the whole concept of literature into perspective and how

it affects me in life. I have begun contemplating the different

characteristics involved in creative writing and how every person who reads

literature  will analyze it. After all, this is what Virginia Woolf was so

willing to express in her own literature on the rewards of readin book

without discriminating or creating standards for something that involves

freedom, imagination and judgement.

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