When an audience reads a piece of literature, the author is often not over their shoulder interpreting the text as he or she meant it to come across. The readers are usually equipped with their own previous knowledge, as well as society biases based on his or her previous life experiences. Solely from the use of these tools, as well as the reader’s vocabulary, will a reader interpret the words in front of him or her.
Reader Response Criticism argues this very point. The point of any piece should be subjective, as in, it should give everyone the right to explore their own interpretations rather than seek ones that some other nameless face has published. In other words, “knowledge is made by people and not found” (pg 69). Why should the instructor crush the passions and enthusiasm of the eager reader? By interpreting the text as readers see fit, they not only introduce new ideas into the literary community, but they allow the student insight into his or her own consciousness, which is each person’s ultimate goal. “Our values... are a kind of reader response to our culture and history” (pg 72).
Then, once each reader has explored the meaning of the piece of literature as according to what his or her own personal biases, a type of negotiation takes place in which a group of readers will examine and explore the differing responses in order to discover a common ground and learn from other’s opinions.
The ultimate goal is to bring to light any evidence that one may leave out, which could, in theory, change an entire interpretation of a work.
Proponents of this claim that the process of using one’s own knowledge will engage the student more. “There’s no right or wrong” (pg 69). The student, instead of fearing a wrong answer from the instructor, or ridicule from their peers, they can be open and honest about interpretation with the assurance that they are contributing to the wealth of knowledge.
Now that I have explored the meaning of Reader Response Criticism, I will attempt to analyze the poem “All Bears” by Caroline Fraser. In it, she uses a variety of words to describe...