Monday, March 14, 2016

Thoughts on Analysis

My bachelor's degree is in English Literature. The degree taught me much and more about structure, narrative, rhetorical devices and language, but the over arching theme of all my classes was analysis. Analysis on the face of it seems rather simple. You're exposed to something and you give your opinion of it. This is what I thought analysis was, but it's more complicated than that.

Merely reading something and giving your own interpretation of the material is not analysis. Analysis is a tool. It is an activity to help you understand the material. It is not an end unto itself. Analysis is about looking at something through different lens, like putting a colored filter over a photograph. Some colors disappear, some are enhanced and this change in perspective brings attention to different aspects of it. In analysis these lens, are used to help shed bias, but also to take on the bias of another.

There is a theory of analysis in literature where you try and throw off all of your own bias, the bias of the author, the historical contexts of the work, or any outside factors and look at the work completely on it's own. It's an annoying and difficult prospect, but it helps you try and see things for what they are. There are other theories of analysis where you take on the bias of another person. My personal favorite is the Gay and Lesbian theory. I'm neither, but it's the only time I've read The Great Gatsby and enjoyed it by looking at it through these borrowed eyes. You borrow the eyes of another and you see what sticks, what changes and what fades away.

I try and use these same ideas to analyze my kata, and it's something to think about.