As an English student, I have learned that all books are about sex. It’s true, apparently. Jane Eyre? Repressed sexual desires. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? Sexual tension between Edmund and the White Witch which is not weird at all. Wind in the Willows? Mole orgasms over food. And the authors definitely meant for sex to be present in this repressed form. It’s not like people are just reading way too far into it or anything.
So now my childhood is ruined thanks to a module on British Children’s Literature I decided to take. It’s is impossible to take anything at face value when you’re doing English Literature, but then I guess that’s the point of the course. However, I remain defiant. I may write about suggested sexual tension and class wars and whatever else they claim is hidden in the text, but it doesn’t mean I believe it. Maybe it comes from my long relationship with the sciences. I always saw things logically, for what they were. Stories. Just stories.
My personal tutor said “You are aware of everything you write. You write it all on purpose.” I didn’t believe him. Afterwards I read a piece to the class, my Silence is Golden piece. “Clearly the theme is sex,” he said. Clearly the theme is not! Until I looked back and realised that the theme actually was sex and I was very annoyed because it was supposed to all boil down to the fact that the man wants a baby and the woman doesn’t. But I wasn’t aware of what I’d written. I had been right and my tutor was wrong. But after a while, you start seeing it. I told my housemate, I’ve accidently written a huge sexual tension between Lind and Guth (of War for the North), to which he replied, No you didn’t, Jess, you just think you did.
Most of the time, there are no underlying, hidden themes that authors put there for you to find. They don’t write so that you have a puzzle to solve (unless it’s a murder mystery or something along those lines) they write because it’s what they love, or for money (*cough* E. Nesbit *cough*). It seems to me that certain critics (Freudians) may think a little too much about sex.