September 9, 2012

Ong's Literal Audience

I found that Ong took the case of the audience versus reader way too literal. I do agree that it is necessary for the author to realize that they aren't just writing for a general audience and that there should be some insight into who will be reading their work, but not in the entirety of his explanation. Ong claims that it is 'quite misleading to think of a writer as dealing with an "audience"'(10). And then goes on to say that he "addresses" readers, then corrects himself stating that the writer isn't even "addressing". I do believe that the writer addresses and audience and the readers. I think that readers fall into the general audience category and don't need to be evaluated separately. I don't understand why Ong feels that it is necessary to determine a distinction between audience and reader. The focus she be placed on who is reading the writing-not what to label them.

He then continues to discuss "readership", a term he describes as what an audience is not. It sounds like he believes that there needs to be a sense of relationship between the audience and what they are reading in order for them to successfully take something away from the writing. I think that part of the fun in reading is always trying to find something new and venture off into writing and reading worlds that aren't comfort zones. He uses the example of an assignment given to a student from a teacher. This is where I began to have a real issue with his opinion on audience or reader and he began to look too much into it. Part of the fun in writing is trying to appeal to everyone or having areas of interests for particular people. According to Ong, "The student is not talking. He is writing. No one is listening. There is no feedback" (11). I completely disagree with statement and believe that there is feedback, there is self feedback, and in this example there is feedback from the teacher, who requested the assignment and the specific writing.


lmariachami said...

Ong tends to forget that the reader is who decides if the book is worth something or not. It can't be the author, if it was, then all books would be classics and hits.
For example, 50 shades of Grey is not the best written book, many critics have disparged the book. Yet, it has been the #1 top selling book for months. Doesn't the audience have to do with that?
The author does try to appeal to the reader like you said, but he isn't creating the audience in his book. If the author did that, then most books would not be coherent or just wouldn't succeed.
It's just like Barthe: he thinks that the author has no claim, yet without the author there wouldn't be an audience would there?

Megan Conner said...

I agree with you in that Ong is very literal in his assessment of the audience of a piece of work and that he should not be so dismissive of the idea that readers are not a collective group. I think what he means when he says that there is no feedback is that the author has to write in anticipation for delayed feedback. When giving a speech, you can see the immediate reaction of the audience. When writing a piece of work that one must read individually, there is a period of time when the author does not know what the reader thinks of the work.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.