When you have a B.A. in English Literature and teach literary analysis you read literature differently than the average for-fun reader. You read analytically. So, if the author wrote “blood-red velvet drapes concealed the dirt-encrusted window,” and I’m reading literature—as opposed to a light beach romance—I’m going to focus on the words blood, velvet, concealed, and dirt-encrusted because I figure the author is giving us thematic, foreshadowing, contextual, plot, and character clues beyond the superficial.
For more on this subject, I suggest reading How to Read Like a Literature Professor by Thomas C. Foster
Does this mean you have to write that way? NO, of course not! ( Although, as a literature geek, I love playing with layers of meaning.)
Whatever you do, do not get hung up the “this means that” school of thought. The magic of writing is the way the writer creates an image or idea with words.
Attached is a 35-page booklet of symbols and contexts to help you discover all the way you can paint depth and complexity with words!