Literary texts are shaped around a structure that draws on contemporary and historical approaches to reading. These various approaches to reading are identified and categorised as author-centred, text-centred, reader-centred and world-centred. Each of these individual facets are underpinned by a range of their own theories, assumptions and values, and because they tend to accentuate author, text, reader or world-centred, there is similarly less emphasis on the other three.
In a traditional author-centred approach, a close reading of the text requires considerations of the author's predetermined meaning as evidence through the use of literary language. Additionally, the meaning or essence of a text is determined by the author's stance on the true nature of the contemporary world.
However, a text-centred approach takes no account of the author's predetermined meaning or the reader’s influence. This approach primarily focuses on the literary language and the structure or integrity of the text. Moreover, it also pertains to the meaning that can be derived from the ‘semiotic codes’ within the content.
Unlike author-centred and text-centred, the reader-centred approach derives from the reader’s interpretations of the text. Similarly, it relates to the reader as an individual who responds subjectively or uniquely to the characters, themes and events presented in the text.
Correspondingly, in a world-centred approach, the reader also contributes to interpreting the meaning of text. However, readers are not treated as individuals because they are seen as assemblages of cultural views, values, and practices in which they participate in their everyday worlds. That is, in this approach, readers interpret texts through varying cultural frames or contexts that are socially constructed.
This reading and defence will encompass a reader-centred approach to The Dark Knight, a film published in 2008 under the directorship of Christopher Nolan. Subsequently, it will demonstrate how, as the reader, my values, attitudes and beliefs were affected by applying theory from various literary theorists: Culler, Riffaterre and Fish’s the ‘informed reader’; Fish’s ‘Interpretive Communities’; Thompson's Developmental Model of Reader Response; and Jauss’s ‘horizon of expectation’.
An Oscar winning success from 2008, The Dark Knight not only gave audiences an illustrious hero and villain combination, but also delivered an exciting, original and lucrative blockbuster that captivated the general public. Throughout his cinematic depiction, director Christopher Nolan examines the concept of identity in modern society through the narrative of three pivotal characters: The Batman, Harvey Dent and Joker. I was certainly fascinated by Nolan’s elaborate manipulation of theme and character construction to accentuate his underlying messages. Additionally, I felt a profound connection to Bruce Wayne’s ‘dark...