Monday, February 2, 2009

Lecture 4: Reader Response Wordle Summary: Rachael Folds

I feel that the wordle image is a reasonably true visual representation of the key components of the text, from my perspective. It is all in the perception of the reader. I do agree with Reader Response theory in that we make assumptions based on our individual experiences/class/knowledge, however do not feel that the theory needs to be as laboured and analysed.
I too believe that perhaps the reason that it is not discussed/taught in such lengths is that it is common sense. After all - it is a theory!!


Jess said...

Excellent work Rachael and thanks very much for adding your Wordle tag cloud.

I'm very interested in the way the word "nostalgia" appears in your cloud...very small, like a little nudge at the back of one's subconscious. It's almost some kind of double-bind...theory has opened up to subjective response (thanks to reader response for one) but, at the same time, we are aware that certain interpretations are more appropriate than others (hence a teeny bit of nostalgia for a formalist account).

For Iser:
"a literary text contains intersubjectively verifiable instructions for meaning-production, but the meaning produced may then lead to a whole variety of different experiences and hence subjective judgments" (Act of Reading, 25).

Can you explain a bit more about the idea that theory need not be "as laboured and analysed?" Perhaps you can give an example of such an instance?

"Reader Response" as a general theory might not appear so frequently but perhaps that's because we have more "refined" aspects of it - we can read through feminist, postcolonial, queer etc... lenses.

rachaelfolds said...

The question at the very backbone of reader response theory “What happens when humans encounter text” I feel is very rudimentary. We read text and if the word is known to us we may conjure images or explore associations in our minds, if the word or text is unknown we may make assumptions or reach for a dictionary to give us a meaning to this word.
Why do we therefore require a theory to explain this top down processing?
If I read the word dog, from my own knowledge I know that a dog has four legs, tail etc, no further explanation or analysis is required.
On a cognitive level the following examples demonstrates our ability to read sentences even when they have been degraded and this ability is aided by our knowledge of English (Denes &Pinson, 1993):



This again demonstrates the top down processing that has links with visual perception, therefore no further analysis / creation of theory is required.
It’s quite simply the way in which the brain works and our cognitive abilities.