September 15, 2012

Writing can't be a chameleon.

This week I struggled with the idea of whether or not Campbell was correct is saying that Truth's writing should not have been altered. In his writing, Campbell explains that agency is "Communal, social, cooperative, participatory and, simultaneously, constituted and constrained by the material and symbolic elements of context and culture." (Page 3) I found this to almost go against the argument that he attempts to make in the rest of his work. He states that he finds this manipulation concerning because it does not do justice to agency and it is a lie. I would disagree with this statement due in part to Barthes' "Death Of An Author." In Barthes work, he says that not only do we need an author to construct the words, but we also need a reader in order to create understanding and meaning. I struggled with understanding these two texts in relation to one another because I didn't understand how Campbell could say that agency is created by context and culture when Truth's work was adapted to appeal to a certain type of group that may not have received the message before.

September 14, 2012

Bearing Witness Again ... The Text Becomes an Agent

Dear Everyone:

First, I finally found the stable link to the New York Times article that I intended to share on “Going Dutch, and Saying It Right.”; It provides an interesting overview of Dutch pronounciations of English in New York prior to 1900, based on what we know about Dutch accenture today. Enjoy!

Second, each class arrived at very different conclusions based on their reading of Campbell’s analysis of Gage’s “fictive text,” and when I took a few moments to reflect this afternoon, I realized the need to bear witness one more time, to your collective contributions, which were grand! One thing I appreciate about Campbell’s article is its clarity of scope. Right away, Campbell states that she will argue for agency as having five particular traits, and she will demonstrate – through rhetorical analysis – how those traits are “illustrated and confounded” by Gage’s depiction of Truth. Today, one class focused their discussion more on the traits while the other focused their discussion more on the confounding, and below are some highlights of what I remember:

September 10, 2012

Bearing Witness to Loose Threads ... or Why We Need New Questions for Agent/cy

Folks, typically my participation on the blog consists of comments to your posts, but I wanted to write my own post to bear witness to some "loose threads" from our past couple of discussions.

For those of you still trying to figure out whether Ong's theory of “fictionalization” adds to or detracts from what you see as an inherent value to writing, you might take a look at a 2010 <TED talk> by David Byrne (musician and songwriter, turned cultural critic). The first 4 minutes of the talk echo the question about how much of the art depends on the venue, or on its architecture, where “architecture” is as much a perception and a realization as it is a physical or material structure. In a way, Byrne dispels the Romantic myth that “playing music to the crowd” is less passionate and less artful than “playing music for oneself.” In this way of thinking, even carefully masked or staged music can be artful because the mask or the stage is as much a construction of the audience as of the musician.

Audience and Ong

So I’m pretty sure I’m following what Ong is saying about the audience being both a role the actual reader assumes once he commits to the book as well as a fictional reader the writer has created filling some sort of role, like, “entertainment seekers, reflective sharers of experience, inhabitants of a lost and remembered land, etc.” (p.12) So the audience is a collaborative effort between both parties, the writer creates the role and the reader assumes that role.  Just wondering if the categories from the latter “audience” are equivalent to genres?  If so, as a writer could the audience we picture just be readers of a specific genre like sci-fi or fantasy, or is the audience more specific than that?  Does Ong’s definition of audience go deeper than just readers of a genre and more so focus on the audience (role) the author has created?  Can it be both? 

Who is your reader? And what can they do for you?

Ong’s ideas about audience paralleled a previous reading I did in another class called The Rhetorical Situation by Bitzer. In this text Bitzer states that there is a rhetorical situation if there is an audience, exigence and constraints. Audience was referred to as a very tangible entity that the writer writes to. He in a sense, breaks the fourth wall, stating that one must speak directly to the audience for it to be real rhetoric.

Ong, however struggles with the idea of audience a bit more. It seems Ong wants the audience to be tangible and real but he seems perplexed about writing as well. Can one write for oneself and people find meaning in your writing? Is it better to write ones thoughts then have an audience find meaning?

Audiences are REAL!

To be honest I had never really thought of the idea of a fictionalized audience before reading Walter Ong's The Writer's Audience is Always Fiction. According to Ong two major types of audience exist, an audience for orators and an audience for written text. Written text is more universal and can reach a greater audience both intellectually and geographically (this was especially true back in the 80's when the pice was written). Today however with the introduction of the internet, both orators and authors can reach audiences across the globe.

What is an author? Foucault

In Michel Foucault’s What is an Author?, he breaks down what he feels an author really is. This subject was claimed dead by Barthes in one of our previous readings, but in Faucault’s writing the author is still alive and claims a much larger stake in the writing than I originally thought it did. The author claims a lot more than just being a the originator of the work or facilitator of the work presented but it causes problems with the writing. In the article Foucault wrote “our culture has metamorphosed this idea of narrative, or writing, as something designed to ward off death. Writing has become linked to voluntary effacement which does not need to be represented in books, since it is brought about in the writer’s very existence” (905). Then he wrote, “Even when anindividual has been accepted as an author, we must still ask whether everything that he wrote, said, or left behind is part of his work” (905). With this statements being said it is interesting to think that the question “What difference does it make that is speaking?” plays an even more interesting role in this article and the subject of the writer than I originally thought.

The Fictionalized Audience in Written Communication

Walter Ong's "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction" focuses on the role of the reader in written communication. Whereas in oral communication, the speaker/listener relationship is direct, the writer/reader relationship is indirect--the writer must fictionalize their "audience" and the reader must assume the role intended by the writer (Ong 12&17).  Ong addresses various writer/reader relationships including the familiar "companion-in-arms" as created by Ernest Hemingway through the use of demonstrative pronouns and definite articles "that" and "the"respectively. The intimacy created by this type of writing is constructed and presented by the writer and separately felt by the reader (Ong 13). This can be compared to the "companion-in-arms"relationship of fictional characters to the reader that is presented in epics (Ong 14).

The Problem with Ong

While I do understand what Ong is trying to get at, in his "The Writer's Audience is Always A Fiction", I am not sure that I agree with him. He says that oratory story telling is a much more straightforward type of writing because the audience is in full presence at the time of the delivery. While I see his point I am not sure that I agree. I think messages, even delivered orally, are perceived differently by everyone. The listeners of oratory stories still apply their previous beliefs and experiences when interpreting the message of a given story or speech. I don't think that their being present in body means that the audience will interpret anything as a single unit. There will always be previous knowledge of listeners that will affect how they interpret a message and what they choose to take away from it.

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.

The Author

The more I think about the idea of the author the more I feel that I am beginning to understand the "death of the author." Not so much because of Barthes though, more so because of Michel Foucault's essay "What Is an Author?" What both Barthes and Foucault seem to be saying is that we need for the author to disappear for a book or other textual piece to be what it should be. At first I didn't really see why that was necessary, when I am reading a book I don't read it using the authors voice but one I have made up in my head, and even if I do know something about the author it usually has little effect on me when I am immersed in the text. Yet this only goes for the first round of reading...

The fictional audience's correlation the author

Ong's notion that the writer's audience is always fictional is one of the most interesting and plausible ideas we have read so far, I believe. When a writer is creating their literary piece, it is impossible for him or her to see and adapt to whomever may read their literary work. Because literature circulates in such abundance, a writer has no way of altering and adapting their work accordingly because they can in no way predict who they should alter the work for. Like every piece of writing, and speech as Ong mentions, there is always an intended audience that the writer may be writing for (e.g. abused women, men of power, toddlers just learning to read, etc.) but they cannot expect that those are the only persons that will come across their literary work.

Fictional Audience

In this article I started off with a little trouble understanding some of Ong's concepts. After further reading I was able to grasp the majority of what he is trying to convey. Ong say's that the audience is fictional. He discusses how to view both your characters and your readers upon writing. Page 12 was a great source for understanding this. He says "the writer must cast and audience in a role" and "the reader must play the role in which the author has cast him." What Ong means is that a writer should aim the audience to assume some type of role when reading the book.  This role can either be an all knowing role where the reader is informed the whole time from an outside perspective, or you are left in the dark like the character in the story, on to discover more and more as the story plays out. This also goes for the reader. The reader must have the ability to to take the role assigned by the writer. But only the writer can make that possible. He also says not to think so directly as to who specifically his audience, for example; "the boy reading the book on the subway." You should think of a general audience and fictionalize them, but not specify each reader as a character. There were a few other concepts of his, but I think I understood this one the best.

The influence of discursive formation in literary composition

In Michel Foucault's analysis of the identity and supposed role of both the symbolic and literal nature of the author in relation to the nature of literary compositon, there are several fundamental concepts which Foucault proposes to aid in the identification of the methods of literary composition in relation to the character of the author. Foucault engages in an analysis which goes beyond the mechanical aspects of a certain work of literature which may be attributed to a source by technicality, such as the style of the writing or gramatical trademarks, to propose that there are underlying elements within the framework of our conscious reality which provide a fundamental basis from which the collective spectrum of of conscious thought during any given period in history is centered around. This theory is constructed by Foucault to compose, in litereary terms, the parimeters to which the knowledge and conception of one's reality is limited at a particular period. Foucault terms this theory discursive formation, and foucault uses this construction of discursive formation to form a seperation between the genres of literary text, such as his regard to the difference between the nature of the novelist and the nature of those of whose work is centered around the evolution discursive formation.

Ong and his Fictional Audience

When Ong says that a writer's audience is always fictional, I construe that he is making a thoughtful statement. I remember writing essays and short stories for classes or for fun, not knowing what my audience's reaction would be. The audience, meaning my classmates, were of different age groups and personalities. So I believe that an author IS writing for a fictional audience, because as you are writing you are thinking about a reaction. Its like the saying, for every action there is a reaction; you don't just write to bore people. You write to cause a reaction and intrigue the readers. With public speaking, as Ong proposes, there is a different affect and your audience is in no way fictional. As a public speaker you learn to adjust to your surroundings. Half the time when I speak in front of a large group, it never comes out the way I imagined. I changed phrases, my tone and sometimes even what I am talking about.

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.

The Imagined Author/Audience Relationship

The exact nature of the relationship that an author has to their work has been a recurring question in my English classes, and it is still one that I do not feel confident that I can provide a definitive answer to. It is a philosophical question whose "correct" answer is contingent upon the analytic framework we approach the question with and the sort of explanatory power we expect from the answer. To a layman's understanding, the meaning of the word "author" seems pretty apparent, the one who produced a work. Yet this definition explains little as it merely substitutes the word "author" for "producer." And even if the word provided some insight, we would still be left with the question of "producer with respect to what?" Imagining an instance of a narrator dictating to a scribe conveys the trouble associated with the notion of "author" as a singular being as this represents a case where different aspects of textual production are collectively dispersed. The same problem is even more troublesome if we are trying to trace the intellectual history of a piece and we adopt a Platonic perspective that there exists a nouminal immaterial world of ideas.

The Fictional Audience

Ong's writing in "The Fictional Audience" surprised me most when they mentioned how little a reader actually thinks of their audience. In my style of writing, journalistic, I thought my largest task was to imagine my audience how to best convey my story to them. It was eye opening, yet completely understandable that a writer, rather, gives the reader a role. I can see it done in books I have read, and how successful it must be to cloak ever reader in the same role to secure understanding and participation in a given book. As mentioned on page 18, we most clearly see the aid of rhetoric in this transition to fictional audiences, in the emergence of the preface, and foreword. The rhetorical setting for each readers role has been set, and has "fixed" readership.

Fictional Audience

I thought the part in Ong's article that made it connect for me was fairly early on. On page 10 he talks about the difference in speaking versus writing and what role the audience plays in that. Obviously when we have to public speak the audience is in front of us, causing so much more to go on than when we're by ourselves writing. When I speak in front of people I don't frequently concern myself with whatever it is I'm saying, I concern myself with how I'm saying it and how I look saying it. Vain as that may be, it's true. I tend to worry about the physical characteristics going on because the audience might be able to notice them themselves, and that thought is honestly a little frightening. In writing though, the I'm in my true form.

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.

Fictionalize this post...

Walter Ong's article, "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction" plays with a variety of concepts concerning: audience, authorial intent, reader reception, and the transmission of meaning. Specifically, I found interest in his comparison of the oral and written tradition. Ong begins with the origination of rhetorical practice to illuminate its evolution, "rhetoric originally concerned oral communication...gradually extended to include writing more and more" (9). Rhetorical approach to oration, Ong argues, is more straightforward than rhetoric that encompasses the written word. Not only does the codification of speech/thought distance the reader and writer (in time and space), but it also causes a fragmentation of audience. This presumption is much like Barthes' in the fact that it acknowledges an alteration of an authors original intent once thought has been confined to text.

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?

September 9, 2012

So What is the Author?

Two of our big readings so far have addressed the role of the author.  In these two readings, Barthes' The Death of the Author and Foucault's What Is an Author?, the issue of the author and his/her role in regards to text and the audience is addressed.  I found Foucault's essay to be much more interesting than Barthes' and I also found his approach to the role of author much more realistic.  Barthes' takes a very close minded approach to the subject of the author and, I feel, he expects too much from the author and the audience.  Foucault on the other hand, makes valid points in his essay that I find to be more accurate.  The most interesting part of Foucault's essay is when he addresses the author-function. 

adpoting a writer's audience and style

I've got to admit: this was an interesting concept to bring up. At the end of section one, Ong is discussing how you never really create your own personal audience or, really, even write with a particular audience in mind but how you adopt the audience (and how your writing style is influenced) by authors you have read before. He gives the example of a student writing a typical "What I Did This Summer" essay: he has no conceivable audience so "he has to make his readers up, fictionalize them."

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.

Death of the Author and the Audience

   Ong talks about the fictionalizing of the audience, who the author thinks he is writing for and what he imagines they are like and will receive his text, whether or not that imaginization is correct. This goes alongside with Roland Barthes’ Death of the Author theory, in that the author’s intent, and what he thinks his intent was, is rendered null and void as soon as anyone else’s eyes read the text. It is no longer his and his alone, but a separate entity that may be wholly different from what he envisioned. Likewise, the author’s idea of his audience is irrelevant. His text, once published or otherwise put out into the world, is removed from him; he has no impute on how the reader interprets the text. As Ong points out, rhetoric for today’s audience is very different from when it was first formed. When rhetoric was an oral discourse, the speaker (author) had a direct connection to his audience, even if it was not a perfect one.

Ong's "The Writer's Audience is always a Fiction"

In Ong's "The Writer's Audience is Always a Fiction" he discusses how a writer does not write for an audience but more specifically they write for the readers. I understand where he is coming from because we, as a whole, more readily associate an audience with something that is happening with the here and now or verbal communication. On the other hand though I think you have to consider when rhetorical discourse is in the here and now. But in terms of readers I am not sure that I truly understand Ong's reasoning behind creating your own audience or fictionalizing them. In regards to his example about writing like Mark Twain and creating a fictionalized audience so that his potential reader understands his text. What does that have to do with the creation of a writing? How does someone just fictionalize an audience? Furthermore, how is it that the reader fictionalizes themselves? I understand the idea of reading an article or book and imagining it happen in your mind but personally I do not relate this to the "game of literacy" and "conforming (myself) to the projections" because when I read as the audience I still relate myself to real life. 

The Audience Is Always Fiction or Fictionalized?

So in reading "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction" the way Ong continuously referred to the audience as "fiction" didn't really agree with me. Yes, an author may never meet or speak in person to the people reading his work, but to broadly label all these unknown audiences as just fiction just seems like the wrong term to use. The audience may be unknown to an author, but there are always going to be real, living breathing people that define an audience, known or unknown. I think it would be better if this reading was titled "The Writer's Audience Is Always Fictionalized." For the most part an author will write with a certain ideal/message for his target audience and yes, he will be fictionalising things as he writes, but it will always be for an audience or even the idea of an expectant audience.


"Once the author is removed , the claim to decipher the text becomes quite futile" (Barthes, 877) I don't understand why he is using the word "futile" to explain this situation.

Google defines futile as:

Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.
     I don't think at all that after the author is removed that trying to figure out the meaning of a writer is pointless and more so, I don't agree that is is incapable of producing any useful result. Just because it's author is not alive anymore to actually tell or explain what they meant by the writing exactly, the writing is still capable to providing useful information to be taken into account. That may the very reason that authors like to write published pieces. It Leaves a piece of them for people to enjoy once they are gone. I don't think that trying to decipher a writing is pointless. The only part of this that i find to be pointless is if you were to have a closed mind about what something means without considering other possible choices or definitions. I would not want any reader to have a closed mind while reading something that has room for interpretation. I think it is important to discuss with others what they may have thought it was about like we do in class. That helps me to be able to see the writings from all perspectives.

     Possibly what he meant by this is that the fight to figure out one simple meaning for something is pointless because there are many and all people may see it differently. That I could see more understandable. Is the Author really committing author suicide or do they realize and want their readers to all take something different away from their work?

illusion of the audience

Ong’s The Writer’s Audience is Always a Fiction speaks about the relationship or the role of the audience. The audience is an imaginary concept that the writers must come up with while creating a text (similar to the idea that an author isn't real, or the the author is not always there). This concept of "not simply what to say but also whom it say it to: (pg 11), bring up the question of who is the structure of writing created in the first place.

   If there is no real audience (speaking of text not oral presentations and stories) and in some stories there is no author than how is there a universal structure of what is a story and who is speaking it and whom are they speaking to? Would it not be easier to write a story as if you were racing it out loud. I know as Ong say "He has to write a book that real persons will buy and read" (pg 10), but what are the limitations of a real audience? It is simple to write for a teacher if they give you directions but what about the audience, the audience that most of us write for, how to we know if and when they are real? Or is all concepts of audience real so you must accommodate to as many people as possible?

Work and Hermeneutics

Foucault brings up a very brief but interesting aspect of "authorship:" The idea of what constitutes his (being the "author," not the scriptor, as Barthes employed) body of "work." "Work," of course referring to the multiple entries that the "scriptor" has manifested, while "dead", under an engendered persona, which, although sharing name, does not play by the same significations of the individual; rather, "Using all the contrivances that he sets up between himself and what he writes, the writing subject cancels out the signs of his particular individuality" (Foucault 905). It seems then that this idea of "work" would fall exclusively under the realm of this "other," this transcendental "author function," as Foucault puts it, rather than the writer himself.

Analyzing author-reader relationship through modes of discourse

In the closing of Foucault’s What is an Author? (and stated/alluded to several times in the “Introductions to Foucault”) there is an important point on the subject of author that is central to Foucault’s studies of language: “It is a matter of depriving the subject of its role as originator, and of analyzing the subject as a variable and complex function of discourse.” He goes on to say that in doing this we are striving not to re-identify the theme, but to “grasp the subject’s points of insertion, modes of functioning, and system of dependencies”. In this situation, he is referring to taking the author out of his/her traditional role (which fuels author-function) and looking at how the author works within the text. In the introductions to Foucault, Richter and Herrick both make it explicitly clear that even outside of the literary scope Foucault isn’t focused on who is in power, but on how power has installed itself, how it produces effects, etc. In a literal example, Foucault is not worried about who is insane, but how insane people are treated. Applying this to literary works, he is not worried about who is the author, but how the author functions in the text.  In other words, what weapons does the author use within the text to accomplish what he/she has set out to accomplish.

Audience is Always a Fiction

         First reading the title "The Writer's Audience is Always a Fiction" threw me off and had me worried about what intellectual arguments that Ong was going to write about in this article. The more I read the more I began to understand and relate with the argument that a writers argument is a fiction. A couple of passages stood out to me while reading this passage besides the obvious breakdown of what is meant by saying that audience is always a fiction.

- "Audience"-   is a collective noun. Page 11.
- "Readership" is not a collective noun. Page 11. 

Ong and Modern Technology

In the final pages of Ong's The Writer's Audience Is Always Fiction, he discussed the genres of the personal letter and the personal diary. He determines that in both cases, and especially so in that of the diary, the writer and the reader are fictionalized by the putting on of masks.

While the letter and the diary are still genres widely employed today, the introduction of various technologies has expanded our genres of communication. A modern version of the letter might be the text message and, similarly, a modern form of the diary would be a blog. How would Ong view these in terms of fictionalizing the writer and reader?

Ong writes: "First, you have no way of adjusting to the friend's real mood as you would be able to adjust in oral conversation" (19). Removed from context, this sounds very similar to the complaints imposed by the attackers of the text message, but Ong is in fact referring to the personal letter. These two genres of text have some differences which make their similarities more interesting. For example, a letter must traverse both time and space, but a text message can be sent virtually in an instant across a great distance. And while letters are conventionally formal with a certain length to them, text messages are notorious for their informality, both in tone and in grammar, as well as their brevity.

The audience and the writer are both fictional

After reading Focault and Ong, it seems to me that in the relationship between the audience, the author, and the text, the text is the only permanent aspect. The audience and the author are both created.

The audience makes assumptions about the author based on his texts, or on what they already know about him. They read the text through the lens of this identity that they have constructed for the author, and that shapes their reception of the text. If they already know who the author is and they have a positive view of the author, then they will be more receptive towards the text. If they dislike the author or the author's views, then they will go out of their way to find things to criticize about the text. How many of us defend our favorite musicians even when they produce a less-than-stellar album?

If everything is situational, why analyze?

This week was a difficult one for me to completely grasp the concept that every writing/ understanding/ critique is situational. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states "But as a matter of fact there are a number of sciences even for the goods" (19). I took this to mean that there are a wide variety of events/ circumstances which would account for some good. Therefore, my reading one book may conjure up memories of the time I went to the beach and had an incredible time while to another person, the same book may conjure up memories of the time they went to the beach and stepped on an irate crab. Both are reading the same book, but different circumstances or "sciences" make the understanding situation. I can never fully understand another person's interpretation of the work because that person and I do not have the same outside perspective we are bringing in to the reading.