September 10, 2012

Ong’s Meaning of Audience

The title “The Writer’s Audience Is Always a Fiction” took me a while to comprehend. Once I got to the fifth section it became clear that it most likely means that the writer creates who they want their audience to be and they write based on that. The author writes assuming that their audience knows certain facts. Written text is different from oral text because “the orator has a true audience, a collectivity (p.11).” To my understanding a collectivity is a group of people who are all present at the same time, which means they hear and see the same things to create one meaning. There is no alternative meaning if everyone agrees with what they are hearing and seeing. Ong’s notion of audience that each reader is different is still a current issue today. Ong believes that you cannot write for one audience because each “reader” has their own perception due to their “real social, economic, and psychological state (p.10),” meaning that each person thinks according to what they believe and have experienced.

This is similar to Foucault’s idea that the author’s name is not associated with the actual name, but what the name is linked to and that changes with people’s interpretation just like Ong’s notion of audience. Barthes belief that there is no single origin of a text; it comes from many sources, can be correlated with Ong as well. Barthes is saying that every person that has contributed to the thought process of the text can be viewed as an author, but that depends on how the reader wants to look at it. Once again the article’s present this idea of interpretation. All three of these authors deal with how people create meanings through their own interpretation or perception. I could be wrong about these correlations, but that is what I am getting from my understandings.

1 comment:

Carolina Perez-Siam said...

“The writer creates who they want their audience to be and they write based on that. The author writes assuming that their audience knows certain facts. Written text is different from oral text because ‘the orator has a true audience, a collectivity (p.11)’”.
I really found this excerpt from the post ever insightful it shows the ying-and-yang of Ong’s idea. Although Ong states that every reader is different and believes you can’t really write for an audience because every person has such a different perspective. This post made the ideas of this piece and little more concrete for me, although I am still a little confused about Ong’s ultimate idea. I also agree with your parallel to Foucault! Can’t believe I didn’t make that connection, but it was very helpful seeing it! Do any of these theorist leave you with a concrete idea?

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