A friend of mine is taking a course at Georgetown University that takes an analytical, structural look at literature. She was explaining how the professor analyzed and broke down the sentence structure used by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. As I listened, I had curiously conflicting reactions: at the intellectual level it was interesting...but at the gut level, the place from which my writing and imagination pours forth, it felt deadening.
Why this reaction?
The answer lies in an observation by Robert Pirsig from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. That is fairly well understood, at least in the arts. Mark Twain's experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytic knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty. Something is always killed.”
Something is always killed...that explains the deadening sensation.