September 10, 2012

The Death of the Audience?

     Ong discusses an interesting subject: that the audience of a novel or any writing is fictionalized. "The 'audience' that fires the writer's imagination." (Ong, pg.10) This concept sounds oddly familiar? Does Barthe's "Death of an Author" ring a bell? Barthe talks about how the author has no significance in a text. The author serves only one purpose: to be the scriptor of the text. Ong approaches his theory in a similar manner, that we the audience is fictionalized. So how much of each of these theories accurate? Is there no such thing as a real "Author" and a real "Audience"? Are they both being put to death?
     I still find it very hard to agree with Bather's theory. He states that the author has no significance in the text. His sole purpose is to put down the words on paper, and not in the creative way that most would expect the author to. No, the author is the scribe of the text. Not the voice, or the creator of the story, but the scribe. Barthe believes that the audience is the one who contextualizes the text and turns the text into a story. Which is ironic, because Ong believes that the audience doesn't even exist. He thinks the audience is all in the author's mind. Oh wait, there is no author though. So when it comes down to it, who decides what a text signifies and who creates the significance?

Yes, Ong has a point is establishing the difference between an audience and a reader. "For the speaker, the audience is in front of him. For the writer, the audience is simply further away." (Ong, pg.10) The audience is a group of collected members who are listening to a speaker, while a reader are people who are listening in their own minds what the author wrote. It is true that an author has to think if his text will actually mean something to his readers, he does have to keep that in mind, but to what extent? Is the audience just the figment of the imagination? Are we the readers really part of the story? I have to disagree. There is purpose to a writer's text. Just as Ong had a purpose to write his. Was he thinking of me personally when he wrote his article? Most probably not; but he probably had a generalized idea to who he wanted his words to reach out to.


1 comment:

Natalie Andrade said...

Leaning away from Barthes "Death of an Author," because I dissagree with the complete divorce between an author and his voice, I see more clearly the existence of the readers role. These seem to me as merely to opposite forms of writing. To give the author freedom to voice himself allows him to create this reader role but to silence his voice is to give the audience control of his story and them the "authorship" to take away what they please. I don't believe the two can coexist.

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