Point is, a lot of people try too hard to incorporate "deep" and "meaningful" themes into their stories, and think themselves clever. Confront them with a "What drug were you on when you wrote this pretentious tripe?" and they'd tell you in a roundabout way that "Your pre-Homo habilis brain cannot possibly understand the magnitude of my intellect and deep, deep philosophy!" I quite frankly think this is the case with a number of overrated, overhyped "classical" literature. And I don't care what awards they've won, be it Pulitzer, Booker or even Nobel. Some neophyte writers follow suit, and usually, the lecture/sermon/didacticism found in the writing is there to thinly cover the utter lack of actual plot or characterization. So don't look down on your readers; don't try to brush off comments and impose your delusions of granduer on dissenting opinions. Chances are that you are deluded as hell and need to wake up.
While I would say that you are generally correct, a lot of this does depend on the target audience and the actual intent of the author. Pilgrim's Progress
would seem to be the best example of what I mean here, as it is basically one long allegory rather than a story as such. Bunyon didn't write it to entertain so much as to instruct, and taken in that context it is a rather fascinating insight into the mindset of Medieval Christians.
Never write angst for the sake of angst. Don't let your character wallow in self-pity or soul-searching for pages and pages where nothing happens. Most sane, discerning people don't want to read about conversations and inner monologue that go nowhere except to give the character to revel in his/her/its depression. That seems to be the case with various teenagers, by the way, who just love telling the whole world how miserable, depressed, or "insane" they are.
I agree. I think this is also part of the wider point of always making sure that a writer's character(s) are sufficiently separate from him/herself. Too much projection of the self into a character will always wreck a story, whether by angst, over-happiness or anything else <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />