Reading/Response Criticism Essay

1481 words - 6 pages

Imagine the Mayans were right about the “Apocalypse” that is soon to convert this entire planet to smoldering ash. Tsunamis and earthquakes combine into a 200 ft. 10 point Kraken, swallowing buildings, plunging them into the crushing darkness. Forest fires ignite from the sparks of broken telephone poles then are spread through the continents by the clusters of hurricanes coming from each hemisphere. Tornados soon join the devastation, creating a pyrographic megastorm, flames engulfing our world resembling the first ten minutes of “T2: Judgment Day.” The aftermath looks like the Beelzebub himself just popped out just to say, “Doubt me now!?” After all the chaos and destruction, few survivors salvaged in caves and bunkers emerge from the ashes like a flock of Phoenix, searching for materials to survive. And usually within these post-apocalyptic stories there is always someone that will try to keep a record of the traumatic experiences they went through as well as keeping track of what they survived off of. Years later, someone will come across this person’s diary, read it, and one day responds in class or to friends. With every disaster, there is hope to rebuild. In comparison, without a reader, literature or any other written work will be useless and unknown, thus creating the Reader/Response criticism.
Emerging from the 1970’s, Reader/Response Criticism is not just a response from a single individual, but a group of critiques that analytically dissect the text “finding meaning in the act of reading itself and examining the ways individual readers or communities of readers experience texts.” (Abrams, 85) Digging deep into the subliminal messages and metaphors behind every sentence, these critiques determine the type of reader or community the work implies and helps to create. They also inspect the significance of the chain of interpretations the reader undergoes in the reading process. In the previous paragraph, the types of readers that would get hooked into the survivor’s work would be those who have endured something similar. Right now, hope be with them, the victims of Northern Japan and the innocent in Libya would be definitely be reading something like this. Even though the work took place in a different time and place, people can still relate to the material and realize there are others that undergo the same struggle and live in conditions that are inhumanely possible. Speaking of misery and hard-knocks, we all know that life could sometimes be a huge bowl of macaroni and shit and have had our spoonfuls. Edgar Allan Poe was one of those few who took all that despair and wove it into a macabre-infested work of art, creating a vision and an atmosphere so gothic and bleak, yet results in truth and a fine work of entertainment and thrill. He says, “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” (brainyquote.com) With that being said, one can truly say...

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