September 9, 2012

Audience is Always a Fiction

         First reading the title "The Writer's Audience is Always a Fiction" threw me off and had me worried about what intellectual arguments that Ong was going to write about in this article. The more I read the more I began to understand and relate with the argument that a writers argument is a fiction. A couple of passages stood out to me while reading this passage besides the obvious breakdown of what is meant by saying that audience is always a fiction.

- "Audience"-   is a collective noun. Page 11.
- "Readership" is not a collective noun. Page 11. 

         This describes how in different situations of listening and reading the audience is engaged differently. When an audience is listening he/she  receives the same message at the same time. An Audience is a Unit. Yes you can have cases where there are members in the audience who are not engaged to the speaker but he/she is in the moment and presence of the speaker. Where readers interpret and read at different paces. The audience is not active at the same time, many different interpretations are happening, different variations of the text are being made. Readership is exercised individually.

       This helps with the idea of a writer's audience being a fiction. The writer has to imagine everything that the readers will interpret. The readers must be present in the situation. The reader must then carry on the role in which the writer is trying to give. This is in my opinion makes the audience a fiction.


A Cycene said...

I agree and slightly disagree with what you are saying concerning what the audience is according to Ong. Yes, I do agree that when he contrasts the audience of an orator's the audience is a single unit-they are a single mass all similar to one another in the fact that they are all present and listening to the exact same content at the exact same moment.

When you mentioned that the writer's argument was always a fiction, I tend to disagree simply because the text itself is the only thing prevalent and concrete. It is what connects the writer and the reader through the passages of time and occasion. It's like when Ong was referring to how his books were going to be read by thousands of people thirty years from when they were actually published. He doesn't know those people, and will not be speaking directly to them. But when he was creating the text, he was creating the text for an invisible audience in his mind.

On that note, I do agree with you when you define readership and audience and make the distinction that people who read are not actual "audience members". And it is in this distinction that makes the actual writer's "audience" fiction.

Joseph Hendel said...

Though I did not really pick up on the listening/reading concept Ong was trying to convey, I agree with you about the readers interpretation. The reader must assume the role given to him/her by the author. The author must creation a fictional audience by deciding what path he wants to take them on. Ong references Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and how the reader is taken on this journey, carrying a sense of lost and unknowing the whole time. The reader also assumes these feelings while reading. The author must be able to create a perspective where the reader can easily invision and interpret everything on the page. All in all, I do agree with you in your opinion of Ong's fictional theory.

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