Last week on another site I received a critique from a someone regarding an allusion to two of the most famous works of literature in English. Below is the full critique:
I'm not the one to ask about commercial vs literary. But I can say that, although this piece is well written, it's a bit confusing. I had to read it three times before I got the gist. Not because of the language, but because of the structure and detail and/or lack of it.
i.e. During the first read I thought Eddie had committed suicide by veering into the oncoming lane, and I'm still not sure what this means:
With a chortle at the thought of those two bad actors making such a hash of the Bard, Eddie swung the wheel to the left, gunning the motor to pass the skull and all the morbid thoughts it brought him.
I'm at a loss as to who the two bad actors are and what "making such a hash of the Bard" means. That could be because of my ignorance of truckers and the slang they use, but if this is going to be a piece that attracts the general public, I suggest you throw in some details that will enlighten us or at least give us a hint as to its meaning.
Alas poor Yorick… Eddie mused, fingering the red bandanna tied around his neck. To be or not to be… he muttered -weighing his regret at his lost lifestyle against his relief from the burden of being who he was - …that is the bare bodkin.
I looked up the word "bodkin" but I'm still confused as to what it's supposed to tell me about Eddie. Also, at this point, I'm looking for some clarification as to who Yorick is. Could be a slang expression for the driver of a particular vehicle, but I have no way of knowing that.
Why won't Yorick talk to us, Gopher?
This made me wonder if he knew the driver of the tanker, and if his name is actually Yorick. But, again, there's no way to know for sure.
My questions are as follows?
How can one presume to write anything in English without knowing these seminal works?
I realize they are both DWMs, but how can one hope to write literature without common points of reference?
How can we be anything but warring tribes without a common culture?
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