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How much freedom does/should a reader have in determining the meaning of a text?

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How much freedom does/should a reader have in determining the meaning of a text? Writers try to communicate their ideas to their readers. The style they choose to do it in and the ambiguity they want to leave for the reader to figure out depends on him/her. It can also be the case that the reader himself is reading too much into a text as the writer might have just thought of a story just by chance or the writer is sometimes obliged to invent stories in order to make books as selling books is their livelihood. What people see in a text might have nothing to do with what was in the mind of the writer. The way a text is interpreted by readers depends on who is reading it. The writer might e communicating feelings and ideas about a particular subject without intending to so. Also the style the book is written will effect how much freedom the reader has to interpret a text, for example in the Charlotte Bronte's book Jane Eyre narrates the book herself ...read more.


The idea that every reader's interpretation counts means that the author's intended meaning is very much discounted. Having said that many authors encourage people to make their interpretations of the texts by complicating the narrative and characters within them. If on the other hand there was a correct meaning of a text the reader will need to have a sufficient mastery in language and be able to understand the complex of language used by the author in order to fully appreciate and interpret the text. For example interpreting Jane Eyre would be more challenging for the reader that it would be if they were reading Vernon god little. This is due the different style and type of language used within these texts. Jane Eyre is more complex in its character description and language comparing it to Vernon god little. Another reason why Jane Eyre would be more difficult to read compared to Vernon god little is the time when it is set. ...read more.


It is argues that a major value of literature is to give the reader the ability to construct words, metaphors, images and plots to understand the story of the text in addition adding to their imagination and educating them. In conclusion no matter how gifted the author there will always be some difference between what he wants to say and what the reader will understand of the text. The validity of the readers understanding can not really be judged against what the author intended to say because the reader as argued above is reading the text according to their own experiences and ideas in other words they are reading the text subjectively. Also the reader can only judge the text by what has been written down. It is important to note that the most important advantage the reader has when reading a text is the freedom they have to interpret the text. This will also add to the enjoyment of the books they read. The author's intention is quite often to invoke an emotional response from the reader so therefore the writer himself encourages freedom of interpretation by the reader. ...read more.

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