IT'S QUITE AN EYE OPENER! ...
… the business of reading between the lines. So let’s begin by making sure we understand this well-known idiom, or saying. If you “read between the lines”, you understand what someone really means, or what is really happening in a situation, even though it is not stated openly. There is an implicit meaning in addition to the obvious one.
Remember also that an allegory has an underlying meaning as well as the literal one.
I’m sure you will appreciate the common ground here. What then are the implications for reading a book like “The Great Divide”? When reading an allegorical story are you also reading between the lines?
Allegory is a powerful medium. I liken it to the swallowing of a slow-release capsule in the body, or slow-release pellets in the garden. The long-term cumulative effect for good (or bad) highlights the importance of being proficient in the use of certain skills.
“Detective” work is involved, such as recognizing and integrating clues; or selecting the right pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The context is always important. And perhaps most important of all are the thinking processes which can assemble a picture in the imagination, that is just as real and telling as that conveyed by the words spoken, or the printed text being read. The more skilfully the skills are used the more accurate will be the allegorical interpretation. The integrity of this discernment will determine the impact that comes from reading between the lines. It is the “hidden” meaning of allegory that is important. The literal story is like a framework on which a new “creation” can be constructed.
A single read of an allegory will leave many “holes” on the frame. After a number of readings the more significant and meaningful will be the image being put together. A casual assessment may suggest that the imagination has run its course and there is nothing more to find or add. However, look at things in a different light. New perspectives can often spark new insight.
I know from experience that allegorical stories can change people’s lives, short and long term. Herein lies a test. A story may make quite an impression on us for one reason or another but I believe an allegory will cause lifestyle changes to be made – sometimes quite radical. Deep convictions can result.
Could it be that it provides us with an opportunity to see in the fictional characters, real people we can actually identify, and with whom we can interact? We can put ourselves into circumstances and situations that demand a response that can be tailor-made for our own personal choices and decisions. The “hidden” story can become so uniquely ours. Properly used, the skills needed for reading between the lines will open our eyes, and maybe cause us to exclaim an excited, “Wow!”
I do hope that “The Great Divide”, its edited version in FOPTA, (and other allegorical stories) will get you fired up, ready and willing to stick your neck out, and that this infection will spread to others. We would love to hear from you. You know … pow wows and all!!