A couple years ago, my friend’s girlfriend baked him a cake in the form of a book for his 21st birthday. He is an English major, and a devourer of good books, so naturally he loved the idea. Also, who doesn’t love cake. My initial thought was “Oh that’s really cool, she did a great job making that look like a book cover!”. I then realized I had missed the intention of her art. The cover of a book contains little information, and can be fairly boring when compared with the actual text inside.
While the outside of the cake was designed with a relatively simple color scheme and font, that’s not to say there was little thought or effort put into it. The message I got was clear: like a book, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. She used the frosting on a cake as a visual, to express that the decorations are unimportant compared to the true content inside. Literally the content was red velvet cake (very delicious), but symbolically it was his 21 years of life, accomplishments, and all the endearing and interesting qualities that he has.
In the same way, great works of literature contain months and years of effort, intricacies and subtleties. In order to understand it all, you have to come at it from several angles, cutting it open and picking it apart. There are layers to all great literature, different lenses to view through, and different interpretations to be had. Like a great text, one person might find the inside of this cake to be sweet and savory, while the next person is put off by the texture or a specific flavor. This goes back to our class discussion of beauty – it is a concept formed in the mind, and since we all have different minds, our concepts will differ. The aspect which appeals most to you might offend my taste, but we have to dig in to the cake and compare in order to find out.