I must start off with applauding Brian's topic for his term paper and presentation. I have explored the thought that nothing can be original in a previous blog and it was extremely fascinating to me as apparently it was to Brian as well. Brian gave a few examples of this through Pinocchio and Midas and he is completely correct.
Now, in an earlier blog I discussed how this affected me as an English major and someone who enjoys both writing and reading. At first, I thought it was really a horrible thing to find out that everything you love is in essence a lie. I imagined the quote I once read by I believe Mark Twain, but do not hold me to this because American Literature in high school was long ago replaced by all this college learning. Anyway the quote went something like this, "the doctor looks upon the young girl with a flush in her face and does not see beauty but the beginnings of sickness and disease. The seaman cannot appreciate the beauty of the rivers around him as they flow and chop, but only sees the course and obstacles in his way."
Again, I butchered that quote because I cannot remember it nor the author fully but I hope you get my point. Once you study something extensively it is almost like taking the magic out of it. And at first, seeing that nothing can be truly original in literature did just that for me. But then I realized instead that we can pride ourselves on the references we make in our works and revel in the fact that only those educated few that have taken this class and others like it, will understand.
It's funny, my father has a favorite game to play when I am watching a movie he has dubbed completely heinous. He will lay out the plot from watching merely five minutes of the show, because it has all been done before. Now this use to annoy me immensely not only because he would always be correct but as a young child I was not crippled by the fact that nothing was original. Everything I saw was new and fresh to me. But now, I must say I will fully be able to trump him at his own game thanks to this class. My father may be able to tell me the plot, but I will be able to tell him where it originated.