Not only is his wife annoying to him, but she is also distant and removed from what he cares about, like a stranger. When she does speak to him, it seems reflective of the way a mother would speak to a child. For example, Mrs. Have you lost your gloves? Mitty asked of him. Finally, the clearest way in which Mrs. Not only is Mrs. Mitty portrayed as a mothering, bothersome hen, but she is ultimately described as that which will be the death of Walter Mitty. Mitty is a direct literary descendant of the first woman to be stereotyped as a nagging wife, Dame Van Winkle, the creation of the American writer, Washington Irving.
Likewise, Walter Mitty is a reflection of his dreaming predecessor, Rip Van Winkle, who falls into a deep sleep for a hundred years and awakes to the relief of finding out that his nagging wife has died. So how does a woman reader respond to this portrayal of Mrs. She would sympathize with Mitty, as Thurber wants us to do, and see domineering women in her own life that resemble Mrs. She may see her mother and remember all the times that she nagged her about zipping up her coat against the bitter winter wind.
Or the female reader might identify Mrs. She could see the faults in a relationship that is too controlled by a woman and recognize that a man needs to feel important and dominant in his relationship with his wife.
The female reader could simply misread the text. Or, the female reader could rebel against the text. She could see Mrs. Mitty as a woman who is trying to do her best to keep her husband well and cared for. She could see Walter as a man with a fleeting grip on reality who daydreams that he is a fighter pilot, a brilliant surgeon, a gun expert, or a military hero, when he actually is a poor driver with a slow reaction time to a green traffic light.
This, for most women, would cause anger at Mitty and indirectly Thurber for creating and promoting a society which believes that women need to stay subservient to men. From a male point of view, it becomes a battle of the sexes. I found myself initially wishing that Mrs. Mitty would just let Walter daydream in peace. But after reading the story again and paying attention to the portrayal of Mrs.
Mitty, I realized that it is imperative that women rebel against the texts that would oppress them. By misreading a text, the woman reader understands it in a way that is conventional and acceptable to the literary world. But in so doing, she is also distancing herself from the text, not fully embracing it or its meaning in her life. By rebelling against the text, the female reader not only has to understand the point of view of the author and the male audience, but she also has to formulate her own opinions and create a sort of dialogue between the text and herself.
Rebelling against the text and the stereotypes encourages an active dialogue between the woman and the text which, in turn, guarantees an active and most likely angry reader response. I became a resisting reader. Works Cited Elias, Robert H.
Dedria Bryfonski. The purpose is to analyze the subtleties of literature that includes social prophecy, interdisciplinary themes, intellectual history, and moral philosophy. Hence, it considers anything that has relevance to interpret meanings to humans. The theory gained popularity because of its contrastive ideology. The traditional theories primarily focused on the form or content of the literary work.
However, reader-response criticism, as modern literary philosophy emerged between the s and 80s, particularly in German and the US. The theory identifies the reader as a significant and active agent who is responsible to impart the real meaning of the text by interpreting it.
The modern school of thought argues on the existing perception of the literature. According to it, literature is like a performing art that enables reader creates his own text-related unique performance.
New criticism considered that only structure, form, and content, or whatever is within the text, create the meaning. Do certain words evoke feelings? Have you read other sonnets by Shakespeare? If so, what do you remember about them? Did you bring your knowledge of the sonnets to the reading of this one? Did you read the poem coming from a particular interpretive community? How did your interpretive community shape your interpretation of the poem? What ideas from your community did you bring in interpreting the poem?
Psychological Reader Response When we read, we are continually connecting the text to our lives, almost as if the literary work is speaking to us personally. Psychological reader response helps us better understand this phenomenon. Subjective Analysis Often called subjective criticism A form of reader-response criticism that views a literary work as comprising both the concrete text and our interpretation of it.
To Bleich, a literary text comprises a real entity—the text, the words on the page, which is a concrete object—and our interpretation of the concrete text, which can be seen as a symbolic object. Meaning, then, is negotiated: our reading response highly personal is often brought to a larger body communal to discuss the meaning of a piece of literature.
The classroom is a perfect example: you are assigned to read something, you read it and develop a personal interpretation, and then you share that interpretation with the class; ultimately, the class creates a more communal interpretation.
In subjective criticism, knowledge is seen as socially constructed from the interaction of all readers; thus, interpretation is seen as personal, yet communal, the common element being that reading is subjective.
The transaction that happens in subjective criticism is between the personal reader-oriented response statement and the more public-oriented response statement, which reflects the themes in the text. Subjective criticism focuses on the negotiation for meaning—your view is not wrong if it is based on some objective reading of the text.
According to Holland, people deal with texts the same way they deal with life. Holland would say that we gravitate toward particular literary works because they speak to our inner—our psychological—needs. These identity needs are often repressed in the unconscious and are in need of an outlet, which is provided by reading. When reading, then, we can engage our repressed desires or needs.
Why do we read fantasy literature? Romance literature? Self-help books? Science fiction? Reading becomes a personal way to cope with life. This coping process is interpretation, for literature exposes more about the reader than about the text itself. A reader who belongs to a marginalized racial or ethnic group, for example, is likely to have a different set of literary likes, dislikes, and defenses than a reader who belongs to the dominant racial or ethnic group in a society.
In turn, we gravitate to texts that tend to reinforce our identity themes and our needs. The contrary is also true: we will avoid texts that challenge our identity or threaten our psychological needs. When we read a text, we see ourselves reflected back at us. Your Process List the literary works that you have read multiple times. Why do you return to these works? Do they reflect issues that connect to your life? Can you venture to define your identity theme? Are there literary works you dislike?
Do these dislikes have anything to do with your identity theme? Timothy Baht. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, A classic example from nineteenth-century American literature is Moby-Dick , now considered one of the greatest—if not the greatest—American novel ever written. But this has not always been the case. The author has read up laboriously to make a show of cetalogical [sic] learning…Herman Melville is wise in this sort of wisdom. He uses it as stuffing to fill out his skeleton story.
Bad stuffing it makes, serving only to try the patience of his readers, and to tempt them to wish both him and his whales at the bottom of an unfathomable sea… The story of this novel scarcely deserves the name…Mr. There are sketches of scenes at sea, of whaling adventures, storms, and ship-life, equal to any we have ever met with… Mr.
Herman Melville has earned a deservedly high reputation for his performances in descriptive fiction. He has gathered his own materials, and travelled along fresh and untrodden literary paths, exhibiting powers of no common order, and great originality.
The more careful, therefore, should he be to maintain the fame he so rapidly acquired, and not waste his strength on such purposeless and unequal doings as these rambling volumes about spermaceti whales. Why the change in reputation? Critics started reassessing Moby-Dick, scholars tell us, in , and by the novel was frequently taught in college classrooms, thus cementing its critical reputation.
In F. Mathiessen, in American Renaissance, placed Melville as a central writer in the nineteenth century. In addition, the rise of literary theory that focused on race, class, and gender led to new revisionist readings of Melville; more recently, queer theory has argued that Moby-Dick is a central text in gay and lesbian literature.
After twenty years of clerking for her self-made Jody, Janie found herself a frustrated widow of forty with a small fortune on her hands. For more than two years they lived happily; but Tea Cake was bitten by a mad dog and was infected with rabies. One night in a canine rage Tea Cake tried to murder Janie, thereby forcing her to shoot the only man she had ever loved.
Miss Hurston can write, but her prose is cloaked in that facile sensuality that has dogged Negro expression since the days of Phillis Wheatley. Her characters eat and laugh and cry and work and kill; they swing like a pendulum eternally in that safe and narrow orbit in which America likes to see the Negro live: between laughter and tears.
Magazine, March , 74— Class Project: Reception Review Choose a popular literary text. Find three reviews of that work. You can find reviews by using a search engine—Google, for example—and if your library has Book Review Digest or Book Review Index, these are important databases.
Write a short paper that briefly summarizes each review and then comment on the reviews. Do the reviewers agree on the book in their reviews? If not, explore the differences. Cultural Reader Response Cultural reader response acknowledges that readers will bring their personal background to the reading of a text.
What is that background? In other words, as readers we may interpret a literary work in light of where we are situated in society.
For example, gender is key to the way that readers respond to a literary work. Do men and women read differently? Jane Radway, Reading the Romance, 2nd ed. Radway examines why women readers gravitate to the romance novel. The target audience for Twilight is adolescent girls, and it is unusual for boys to read Twilight.
Flynn and Patrocinio P. Elizabeth A. Schweickart, eds. As you can see, cultural reader response takes seriously how a literary work might evoke a particular response from a reader based on his or her gender, race, class status, sexual orientation, and so forth, and how a reader might bring a reading strategy based on his or her identity. Your Process Write a journal or blog entry that explores your cultural position as a reader.
Give at least two concrete examples. Carefully read the work you will analyze. Formulate a general question after your initial reading that identifies a problem—a tension—that is fruitful for discussion and that. Reread the work, paying particular attention to the question you posed. Take notes, which should be focused on your central question. Write an exploratory journal entry or blog post that allows you to play with ideas.
Construct a working thesis that makes a claim about the work and accounts for the following: What does the work mean? How does reader-response theory add meaning? That is, why is it important for you to write about this work?
What will readers learn from reading your interpretation? Reread the text to gather textual evidence for support. What literary devices are used to achieve the theme? Construct an informal outline that demonstrates how you will support your interpretation. Write a first draft.
The Resisting Reader. You can also use appropriate background information from the textbook and lectures, but you should use most of your space to discuss the documents. Sora himself also has a huge amount of agency, possibly more than anyone else in the game. Compare your experiences with each other.
Readers next concentrate on their reading responses while reading, seeing how each word, each sentence, each paragraph elicits a response. Criticize with Examples If you did not like a text, that is fine, but criticize it either from: principle, for example: Is the text racist? Your essay should be based primarily on evidence drawn from a close, careful reading of the documents.