We interpret works all the time. It's as simple as responding to What do you make of this? Using theory just puts a clear name and clear focus on what we do when we talk about literature. If you're examining what A Doll House tells us about women's position in society, you're doing feminist criticism. When you talk about the tough choices the Nursemaid had to make and why, you're looking at social class, which is often Marxist criticism. When you're explicating a poem and concerned only with the text itself, you're doing New Criticism. I bet you've done these things before in class discussions if not in essays. It's just a way of systematizing the approach to understanding literature and finding and making meaning.
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