Reader’s Consciousness in Literary Interpretation with Special Reference to Stanley Fish’s Reader Response Theory
Keywords:Reader, Domain, Community, Interpretation, Consciousness, Relevance, Perception, Meaning
Reader Response Theory is a broad, exciting, evolving domain of literary studies that can help us learn about our own reading processes and how they relate to specific elements in the text we read. The readers do not passively consume the meaning presented to them by the objective literary text. Stanley Fish’s Reader Response Theory originated with an interesting experiment that was conducted by him for proving that, ‘Interpretation is not the art of construing but the art of constructing. Interpreters do not decode poems; they make them.’ It is the consciousness of the reader that makes the text relevant and significant. The text has no meaning and relevance before the reader reads it and presents his own judgement and experience regarding the text. The readers are termed as the ‘interpretive communities’ as they analyze the text and play an active role in a reading experience.
The paper will focus on highlighting the reader’s consciousness, his perception and experience which gives meaning and significance to a literary text. It will point out that the meaning does not lie in the text, but it is the consciousness of the reader which creates it and adds meaning to the text.
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