9/1 Settling the Colonel’s Hash

Stephen Goin

“Settling the Colonel’s Hash” was an interesting story about a story, both by Mary McCarthy. Essentially, McCarthy was lamenting about the fact that no one could see the story she wrote for what is was, a description of an encounter she had experienced, as opposed to a collection of symbols, motifs, and themes. I believe that McCarthy makes an interesting point about why people read literature and what they hope to gain from it. McCarthy thinks that people read literature to seek out these themes and gain some sort of greater understanding from the work of the author. McCarthy illustrates that any literary work can be picked apart in a multitude of ways, resulting in the work being broken down into the same pieces over and over again. From McCarthy, I feel that I understand more about the mind of a writer and what goes into their work. Not everything that seems like a symbol is one, and not every detail is that important. Sometimes, things just are what they are. However, I realize that symbolism is powerful literary tool that should definitely be taken note of when it is used.


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