This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Reader Response Theory And The Essay

1194 words - 5 pages

During the mid twentieth century, the literary community witnessed the descent of the New Criticism and the emergence of the reader response movement. The reader response movement sharply contrasts the theories of New Criticism in that it focuses on the importance of the reader in the creation of the literary experience. Like New Critics, reader response theorists do not entirely agree on all issues and, consequently, different branches of the movement form. The phenomenological approach represents the notion that the author and reader collaborate to produce the literary work. Phenomenologists credit the reader with having a performative role in the literary experience. Authors such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Wolfgang Iser, and Hans Robert Jauss are associated with the phenomenological approach to literature.Because the reader response movement is built on the foundation that the audience is an essential part of the literary process, phenomenologists tend to show a great deal of respect for the reader. In fact, a major underlying theme of this movement is the idea that the reader should be granted freedom to interpret a literary work in any way he/she likes. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his essay entitled "Why Write?", describes this best when he says "the writer appeals to the reader's freedom to collaborate in the production of his work" (627). Wolfgang Iser echoes this belief in the need for readers' freedom in his essay, "The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach": "No author worth his salt will ever attempt to set the whole picture before his reader's eyes ... it is only by activating the reader's imagination that the author can hope to involve him and so realize the intentions of his text" (961). Sartre and Iser appear to imply that the reader's freedom and imagination are absolutely necessary in order for the writer to fully achieve his/her goal. THis concept seems ideal in theory, but somewhat flawed in practice. How much freedom is really allotted to the reader in the interpretation of a text? In his essay, "Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory", Hans Robert Jauss identifies a "horizon of expectations" that every reader brings with him/her upon approaching a literary work (937). This "horizon of expectations" is made up of the reader's experiences, assumptions, and preconceptions concerning literature. In addition, this "horizon" also includes genre conventions, and the cultural and social issues of the time. If Jauss is correct in his conviction that the reader possesses this preset "horizon of expectations" about a work before even engaging with it, then isn't the reader's freedom already restricted from the very beginning? Of the three aforementioned authors, Sartre is the most adamant in addressing the pertinence of freedom in the literary experience. Sartre claims, "the book does not serve my freedom; it requires it" (627). Freedom is "required" of the reader. How does the author or text cater to this requirement? Sartre...

Find Another Essay On Reader response theory and the

"Literature and Lives" by Allen Carey-Webb Ascertaining the efficacy of reader-response and cultural studies in the classroom

1527 words - 6 pages being disabused of the erroneous notion that literature is just a world of its own - now it was THEIR WORLD. As I read the book, however, I cannot help but wonder if an approach that focuses entirely on reader-response and cultural studies might be a detriment to the students' abilities as analysts, writers, and appreciators of literature at the same time that it is helping themWhen students have carte blanche to respond to literature according to

Reader Response to Sydney's Sonnets, Astrophil and Stella

1421 words - 6 pages Reader Response to Sydney's Sonnets, Astrophil and Stella As we discussed Astrophil and Stella in class, I felt a familiar knot in my stomach. At first I could not pin-point the reasons for my aversion to these sonnets. However, as we discussed it in class, it became clear to me. I could identify with Penelope Devereux Rich. Although Astrophil and Stella could be interpreted as an innocent set of love sonnets to an ideal woman and not a

Book Report and Reader Response: "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, critics three requirements fulfilled

1059 words - 4 pages The Hound of the Baskervilles EssayThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a suspenseful mystery novel, staged in England during the Victorian Era. Robert Daley, a novelist who reviews books for the New York Times Book Review, states that a novel should entertain the reader, teach the reader, and emotionally involve the reader. In this novel, Doyle fulfills one of Daley's requirements by continuously entertaining the reader

Reader response journal for Alice Walker's The Color Purple

873 words - 3 pages written by the protagonist and addressed to God. I was actually very pleased to be reading something formatted different; I thought it would be more interesting. I did not know what I was in store for.Alice Walker wastes no time to shock the reader right off of the bat. The very first letter describes the rape of the protagonist by her stepfather. Uneducated language is used to bring more depth and realism, but also adds a sort of crudeness to it

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Reader Response - Lake Michigan College - Response essay

1257 words - 6 pages The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, is a young-adult novel about a fourteen-year-old boy named Charlie, and the social and emotional breakthroughs that he makes as he goes through adolescence. The book is written as a series of letters to an anonymous reader, with whom the author is not very familiar. Charlie, the novel’s protagonist, is extremely socially awkward. He is very quiet and shy, which allows him to observe other

How does Fitzgerald hook the reader in the first two chapters? - Response

479 words - 2 pages In the first chapter, Nick describes himself through his life and values. By retelling the story of his upbringing and his father’s words “’all people haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’”, the reader can already conclude that Nick sees himself as different from the world and the characters in it. This attracts the reader’s attention as we have gotten to understand and know the narrator and his life, encouraging us to find out what makes

Reader Response to "The Awakening"

669 words - 3 pages This story was really intriguing to me. The struggle of Edna to be herself and not what others thought she should be really related to me. The social norms of women today are not really that different, except we can have jobs as long as it doesn't compromise "the family". I have always tried to be true to myself and never just do what people wanted me to.On Grand Isle, her relations with Adele Ratignolle and Robert Lebrun were more intense

The Reader: Guilt, Atonement, and Redemption - English - Assignment

446 words - 2 pages Explore the themes of guilt, atonement, and redemption in The Reader. Bernard Schlink uses Hannah and Michael to construct themes of guilt, atonement, and redemption in The Reader. The most prominent example of guilt in The Reader is the author’s use of Hanna as a symbol of guilt. In the story, Hannah represents the German party and others who were not the active agents of the Holocaust, but rather the supporting roles. It is known that, after

Comparison of TV news and Newspaper - Positions the viewer/reader

1178 words - 5 pages Any forms of news are shaped to make the viewer or reader have the same beliefs and values as the person who made it. This makes all sources of news selected representations because they are trying to make you feel the same way about an event as them. To gain a full appreciation of a news issue, it is necessary to view a wide range of sources so that you would get a better understanding on the issue. The reason why it is like this is because

"The Reader", by Bernhard Schlink : Guilt and Shame

1054 words - 4 pages "The Reader", by Bernhard Schlink is set in postwar Germany and tells the story of fifteen-year-old Michael Berg and his affair with a woman named Hanna, who was twice his age. After some time, she disappears. When Michael next sees Hanna, he is a young law student and she is on trial for her work in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Their feelings of guilt and shame lead to Hanna's tragic death near the end of the story. Bernhard Schlink is

Phagocytosis and the Immune Response

1576 words - 6 pages Phagocytosis and the Immune Response What are the roles of leucocytes in Phagocytosis and secretion of antibodies? The roles of cellular components of the blood are vital in the transport of respiratory gases and in the defence against disease. The role of white blood cells (also known as leucocytes) are concerned with the defence of the body against disease. Leucocytes are nucleated cells present in the

Similar Essays

Reader Response And A Grain Of Wheat

1274 words - 5 pages , with great strength and passion. Works Cited Hall, Donald. Literary and Cultural Theory: From Basic Principles to Advanced Applications. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. Miall, David. "Poetics 19." Readers' Response to Narrative: Evaluating, Relating, Anticipating (1990): 323-339. Palmer, Eaustace. An introduction to the African Novel. New York: Africana Publishing Corporation, 1972. Thiong'o, Ngugi. A Grain of Wheat. Jordan Hill, Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1986. Vipond, Hunt. "Point Driven Understanding: Pragmatic and Cognitive Dimensions of Literary Reading." Poetics 13 (1984): 261-277.

Reader Response To James Joyce's The Dead

1138 words - 5 pages guidelines through which to examine and express ideas of the meaning of "The Dead."  Joyce himself said that the idea of paralysis was the intended theme of all the stories in The Dubliners of which "The Dead" is the final story.   Of all critical approaches, reader response works best for me.  This approach examines the images, symbols, point-of-view, characterization and setting of "The Dead" in such a way as

A Reader Response To The Lie

610 words - 2 pages A Reader Response to The Lie     Pleasing people and the pressure that comes with it.  This is a major factor in one's everyday life. Eli Remenzel, however, has been caught in the middle of just one of the many lies he will ever tell. It just happens to be that this lie was one that would make a lot of people disappointed. In the short story "The Lie", the parents, and Eli's actions make me angry.  However, I can

Reader Response To Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

1510 words - 6 pages Reader Response to Woolf’s To The Lighthouse      There is a saying that the worth of a man’s life is best measured by the degree to which he has if he has touched the lives of others and not by the quantity of worldly possessions that he has acquired.  It is important to keep this in mind when considering Virginia Woolf’s novel, To The Lighthouse.  Throughout the novel, it seems as though the characters, mainly Mr. And Mrs. Ramsay, are