Ursula K. Le Guin talks about Story versus Message:
The complex meanings of a serious story or novel can be understood only by participation in the language of the story itself. To translate them into a message or reduce them to a sermon distorts, betrays, and destroys them.
This is because a work of art is understood not by the mind only, but by the emotions and by the body itself.
It's easier to accept this about the other arts. A dance, a landscape painting—we're less likely to talk about its message than simply about the feelings it rouses in us. Or music: we know there's no way to say all a song may mean to us, because the meaning is not so much rational as deeply felt, felt by our emotions and our whole body, and the language of the intellect can't fully express those understandings.
In fact, art itself is our language for expressing the understandings of the heart, the body, and the spirit.
Any reduction of that language into intellectual messages is radically, destructively incomplete.
This is as true of literature as it is of dance or music or painting. But because fiction is an art made of words, we tend to think it can be translated into other words without losing anything. So people think a story is just a way of delivering a message.
This is one of those wondrous pieces that I found it difficult to find a simple snippet to quote; I kept wanting to snag the entire piece.
It is precisely this reason I loathed English classes in high school. The texts were (often, not always) taught as if there were pat answers to the analysis, as if a book is not a deeply personal experience. (Even if that experience is the absence of connection to the story at hand.)