Did it ever occur to you that these authors were just... writing a story?" I want to enjoy a book for what it is, and not have to dissect it.
Okay, as a writer myself, I'd like to interject here some thoughts about great fiction:
1) The writer should first and foremost be telling a story.
2) The reader should first and foremost be able to read that story and understand it.
3) Afterward, if the reader re-reads it, he should be able to realize that there were a lot of subtle underpinnings he didn't notice the first time around which made the story enjoyable.
4) If the author was skilled enough, the reader WILL NOT HAVE NOTICED these things.
4A) That's what English teachers are trying to show their students
4B) Concentrating only on the underpinnings will bore everyone to tears
5) But the underpinnings of the story--the symbolism, the foreshadowing, the relevancies to the time in which the writer was writing--those all need to be there in order to create a story that resonates within the reader.
Having said that, my stepfather is an English teacher. One of the first times my mother and he took us on a field trip (they were dating
) we got on the subway and I pulled out a book a thick as a meatball hero. He looked at my mom and said, "Oh, she's got a project due?" and my mother said, "No, she just likes to read," and he nearly fell over.