September 10, 2012

The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction

Ong's "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction" discusses the creation of an audience, or a "readership" in which the author is writing for, and what said author must take into account when creating his work. Ong uses various examples to demonstrate how authors create their audience. The example that allowed me to grasp Ong's theory was Hemingway. He illuminates how Hemingway makes his audience companions by leaving out details that companions of the author would already know; they are assumed to know certain facts because they are there with the author. As Ong puts it, "[It is] not presentation,  but recall." I don't feel like this is as much of a conscious decision made by the author as Ong makes it out to be, but I do agree that there is a certain degree of information that each author wants to share with their reader. Ong discusses the debate of whether to use the indefinite article as opposed to the definite article when involving the reader with the piece of work, and I am just not sure that authors put as much pressure on that decision as Ong is making it seem.

I found it interesting when Ong mentions that "readers are called on to play evolve without any explicit rules or directives," because Foucault mentioned a similar concept in his discussion of an author. Foucault says, "writing unfolds like a game that invariable goes beyond its own rules and transgresses its limits." Both authors are saying that there aren't necessarily rules that one must follow when being an author or a reader, but one must simply adapt to various situations.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I disagree a little bit with you on the idea about how unconscious we are when we create our audience. I think we do it intentionally. Even if it's a small as gauging their reading level, hoping that doesn't come into play too often, is still an active decision that we make. We chose the words we use and the way we use them, and we often write for people just like us, because of that I believe we consciously write for ourselves and the audience we create is an enhanced version of ourselves that we hope to enlighten in one way or another.

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