If you've begun reading/watching Death Note after my previous entry (which for some reason is now after this one), you'll have noticed that Ryuk eats a lot of apples. In fact he goes crazy over them.
Why did the writer, Tsugumi Ohba, decide that Ryuk eats apples? Since he's a kind of demon of death, are the apples there because of religious or psychological reasons?
No. It's because
"Apples are cool."Yep. That's it. No hidden meaning, no subliminal message - it's just because Ohba likes apples. The only reason they're red is because the colour "goes well" with Ryuk's black body.
This made me think back to something I'd wondered at high school. In English lessons we'd spend hours reading books and poetry and analysing them to stupid levels. Everything appeared to have a hidden meaning - every event, every description, every word.
A lot of the time I sat there as these deep meanings were explained to me and I wondered "did the author really intend any of this?"
I'm still of the opinion, that we over-analysed everything. I think if you're going to write a book the primary reason for writing it is to entertain. It's not to give a bunch of children something to do at school as they trawl through every line. If you have to do this to really understand the story then, in my opinion, the writer has failed somewhat. 99% of readers aren't going to do this and thus your secret messages have been too secret and missed by the majority.
I'm not saying that the analysis was a complete waste. Sure, as a result of it I learned some things I might otherwise have missed. But the extent to which we did it was ridiculous. In some ways it actually robbed some of the enjoyment I would otherwise have had from the book.