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Copy of Reader Response: Life of Pi
Transcript of Copy of Reader Response: Life of Pi
-Louise Rosenblatt The literary text possesses no fixed and final meaning or value; there is no one "correct" meaning. Literary meaning and value are created by the interaction of the reader and the text. A text gains meaning by the purposeful act of a reader reading and interpreting it. Questions to ask using reader-response theory:
How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning?
What does an analysis of a text reveal about the experience already built into the text?
Does the way words are spoken or read by the reader enhance or change the meaning of the text?
How might we interpret a literary text to show that the reader's response is, or is analogous to, the topic of the story?
What does the body of criticism published about a literary text suggest about the critics who interpreted that text and/or about the reading experience produced by that text? "Culture fills our minds with assumptions and beliefs that are not only similar, but alike in fine detail, and because of this, individual originality and creativity are convenient fictions of our time."
-Stanley Fish Reader-response criticism is a school of literary theory that focuses on the reader (or "audience") and his or her experience of a literary work. Reader-response criticism is not a subjective, random, and free inspection of literature, but rather an examination of the way a reader or a community of readers will interpret and experience the text. Reader-response criticism is a form of creating more qualities in a writing by adding the thoughts of the reader beyond the thoughts of the author. Stanley Fish David Bleich Norman Holland Norman Holland believes that readers are psychological subjects, or individualists, whose unconscious drives may be studied by examining their interpretations of texts for the errors of omission and commission they reveal. Holland recognizes "misreading" but still treats it as a reader's "symptom." Holland coined "Psychological Reader-Response." As an interpreative community, our class related Life of Pi to ourselves, to other texts, and to the world. Life of Pi was mainly related to conflicts of religion within self and involving others. Religion is a very personal, very human subject. Life of Pi speaks deeply to a person's religious perspectives or lack there of. Reader-response criticism is "reader-active." "Readers make meaning, indeed, construct the whole experience by exploring a passive text with schemas. These range from simple codes, widely shared, about letter shapes, word forms, word meanings, syntax, grammar, on up to complex, individual ideas about character, plot, genre, themes, or values. The feedback from these hypotheses equals the experience and interpretation of the text.
-Norman Holland in "Reader Response is Already Cognitive Criticism" In regards to intertextuality, Life of Pi triggered thoughts of survival novels, such as Hatchet and The Hunger Games. Bleich argued that readers are psychological subjects who may discover their unconscious motives by observing their habits of meaning-distortion. There is no such thing as a "misreading" of the primary text in Subjective R-R criticism, only symptoms. Bleich discovered "Subjective Reader-Response." Stories such as these, with the underlying theme of survival, would most likely be related to in any interpreative community simply because survival is such a basic human instinct. Thirdly, Life of Pi was related to the world. Again, religion was a focus point, specifically religious conflicts world wide. Also, real life stories of survival were frequently mentioned. Fish believes that literature is designed for the "informed reader" who has achieved a definable "literary competency" (or the reader's ability to understand a text based upon a familiarity) for the genre and era from which the work arises. Fish is well-known for his analysis of interpretive communities, a branch of Reader-Response Criticism. Background Again, an interpretive community reading To Kill a Mockingbird tends to come to similar conclusions involving the novel when relating the text to themselves, other texts, and the world. Development Reader-response criticism began in the 1920s with I.A. Richards, who wrote Practical Criticism, a study on how his students at Cambridge University personally responded to poetry. The poetry was given to the students without author name or any other factors that could create a bias or thought from the text. However, Richards did not become a reader-response theorist because he graded his students based off of their interpretations and what he thought to be the correct response. In 1938, Louise Rosenblatt wrote Literature as Exploration, which explored reading and responding as events. She proposed that reading can vary depending on the different thoughts and needs of the reader. In the 1960s and 70s, the theory was further developed by Norman Holland, Stanley Fish, David Bleich, and Wolfgang Isar in opposition to New Criticism which solely focused on the text, and did not take the reader or author into account. These men, along with Louise Rosenblatt, became the pioneers of the Reader-Response literary criticism. Responses Life of Pi To Kill A Mockingbird & Interpretive Community Interpretive Community Citations The reading of Life of Pi was culturally constructed within the interpretive community. The community can be identified and described when we take into account who makes up the body of the community and factors that influence those involved. Our class's interpretive community is made up of young adults of the 21st century. The community has been greatly influenced by the rapidly changing world and pressing issues. Though this interpretive community has been affected by outside influences, their responses also possess feelings that regard basic human nature. To Kill a Mockingbird most frequently brought up thoughts of growing up when relating the text to self in our reader community. With regards to relating the text to another text, The Catcher in the Rye was mentioned, as both are bildungsroman novels. Definitely most related to when discussing text to world connections was the presence of racism in the past and in everyday life today. Seeing as our interpretive community is composed of young adults, it is easy to understand how the theme of growing up and loss of innocence that is weaved through To Kill a Mockingbird provoked introspective thoughts. Again, themes of growing up and the difficulties of doing stuff is easily relatable to the interpretice community made up of teenagers. In both novels, the main character undergoes a loss of innocences and is presented with the struggles of coming of age when they may not be ready. The era that this interpretive community has been raised in is a time of reflection on the past mistakes of our country with regards to race, as well as a push for change and diversity, In applying the reader-response theory to To Kill a Mockingbird, it became apparent how important age was with this specific novel. This interpretive community read the novel at a period in their lives when the main characters reflected the nature of their lives and feelings to some degree. Also, given the age of the interpretive community, the time in history in which they have grown up is equally important. They have learned about the past, and are living in an evolving present. Reader-Response is necessary Literature is a performing art Literature is an event Ellis-Christensen, Tricia. "What is Reader Response Criticism." Wise Geek. Ed. O. Wallace. N.p., n.d. Google. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is- reader-response-criticism.htm>.
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Church, Gladdys W. "The Significance of Louise Rosenblatt on the Field of Teaching Literature." Virginia Community College System. N.p., 1977. Google. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. <http://www.vccaedu.org/inquiry/inquiry-spring97/i11chur.html>.
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Henderson, Greig E., and Christopher Brown. "Glossary of Literary Theory." University of Toronto Library. N.p., 31 Mar. 1997. Google. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. <http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/glossary/Reader-response_criticism.html>. megan Daniels Cassie Hopkins Kate Boelkins (cc) photo by medhead on Flickr Project by: Louise Rosenblatt and Wolfgang Iser Rosenblatt and Iser both supported the "transactional" reader-response. This type of response is based off the belief that there are no constraints on who qualifies as a reader, but instead the text can imply a blueprint for the responses, in which the reader can correct assumptions--Rosenblatt's version of transactional reading--or project meanings upon the text--Iser's belief. LITERARY COMPETENCE
The reader's ability to understand a text based upon a familiarity with and application of an appropriate literary code. IMPLIED READER One who embodies the predispositions and values of the text that are necessary for the text to effect its meaning. IDEAL READER A hypothetical reader who possesses the competence to understand all parts of the text with absolute clarity. INTENDED READER The reader consciously or unconsciously envisioned by the author when the text was produced. REAL READER A composite of contemporary readers and their understanding of the text; used to describe the inclusive meaning and effect of the text. RESISTING READER One who rebels against the perspective the text would seem to impose upon the reader. TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS The basic focus of reader-response criticism on the negotiation or collaboration between author, text, and reader that determines literary meaning. INTERPRETIVE COMMUNITY Invented by Stanley Fish, the interpretive community is a cultural community to which a reader belongs and is influenced. Its limits, however, can never truly be known because interpreting all who belong in a community is nearly impossible. SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS Readers are driven by unconscious, psychological motives. In subjective analysis, there is no misreading of texts. PSYCHOLOGICAL READER-RESPONSE Readers are psychological subjects who have unconscious drives that determine how they interpret text. There is misreading of texts, but this is a symptom of the readers and not an error.