September 10, 2012

Ong "Writer's Audience Is Always Fiction"

In this article, Ong examines the various forms and aspects of communication. He discusses how the spoken language is "in the present" where as the written language is "in the future". In other words, once some one says something, it has to be remembered if someone wants to use that information later. Where as with writing, it is more permanent and the information can drawn from in many years in the future. This then transitions into his views on the imagines audience. What I was concerned with was this idea of having an imagined audience for writing. There is a stark difference between a listening audience and a reader. There are far more problems that a writer needs to deal with by comparison to a speaker, i.e. use of emotions, grabbing the audiences attention, etc. It seems to me that the only similarities shared is the general and broad description of these two things as forms of communication. By this standard, paintings and art work could be held to the same standard. The question tied into this that I would have is, does Ong state any solution to a hindered ability to communicate correctly through writing? If so where? I didn't locate anything on it.

3 comments:

Jessica Weaver said...
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Jessica Weaver said...

From the articles and books we have been reading it seems to me that in a round about way, the authors are discussing the idea that writing is done differently by everyone. The word “correct” could be used to define many of them. I don't believe Ong states and exact solution to correctly communicate through writing simply because it can be done in many ways. The way I write is different from the way you write however we are both effectively getting our point across, no? It's not to say that some ways are more effective than others however there are still multiple ways to go about it.
Communication is a delicate subject; I agree with "there is a stark difference between a listening audience and a reader." The listening audience is focusing on another physically "acting out" the piece- the tone, the mood, the delivery are all key elements to effectively communicating to a listening audience. On the flip side, a reader of a specific piece is left to discern the tone and the mood for themselves, not having to rely on another person- leaving us to question the fictitious audience. How the reader intends on taking the piece is up to them while some could argue that a listening audience is being influence by the speaker.

Stephen Craun said...

Ong seems to propose that the fault of written text in communicating the message and meaning of an author to the respective "audience" lies within the subjective interpretation of words themselves. When an invidivual is giving a speech,the burden of communication can be considered to be more equally shared, as the orator has the ability to comunicate with the audience on a more personal level. Ong seems to believe that the physical presence of an orator aids in the universal interpretation of the characaters and symbols which compose language, through the use of physical gestures and posturing and vocal innotations. This physical orator acts as a translator between his/her message and the interpretation of the audience as a whole.
Ong proposes that written words are symboically representative of an abstract concept, which is given meaning not only by the author, but more so by the subjective interpretation of the individual reader. Therefore,Ong proposes, the audience for which the author caters is an imaginary construct of the author him/herself, due to his/her own perception how the "audience" will subjectively interpret his/her work.
In terms of a solution to this fundamental division between the interpretation of oral and written text, Ong seems to accept that this negated only when the author of the text and the audience of which is meant to interpret the text are physically present in the same arena.
I assume that this circumstance may be applied when observing a poetry reading, for the abstract and symbolic representations contained within the text are coherently articulated by the individuals who composed such works.

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