Literary Criticism occupies a vast space in the field of literature. Works are written but there has to be a proper way to analyze and criticize these works, therefore rose the need for this literary criticism. As a result of which various theories have been provided by various critics in their research paper writings.
These theories gave principles to the scholars for the analysis of these works. Reader-response theory is one such theory that provides one of the ways of attempting criticism of literary works. Therefore, it is a must that students know about this theory in order to gain assignment help in their work.
The reader-response criticism does not particularly refer to anyone specific theory rather to the entire process of reading that is shared by many of the critical modes.
This theory has come into prominence since the 1960s. The critics who propounded this theory kept aside the age-old tradition of assigning only one meaning to a particular text, they rather said that a text may have multiple meanings depending upon the perspective of the reader.
Earlier, the plot, narrator, characters, structure, and style as well as the meanings assigned to a particular text, were considered to be subjective but later on, with the advent of this type of criticism into the literary world, all of them were considered to be an evolving process, that comprised of diverse expectations as well as the restructuring of all the above parts, according to the reader and his interpretation.
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The critics of this theory were of the opinion that the meaning of a text depends less or least on the writer and more on the reader. The writer does not sit with every reader and explain the meaning of the text to him rather it is the reader who interprets the text according to his own understanding.
Therefore, one may easily infer that there may arise multiple meanings of a single text depending on the analysis of each reader. It also implies that there is no correct or wrong meaning of a literary text since when we understand in-depth, we get that each interpretation is true to the text. Yet there are a few points that these critics primarily differ in:
1. their view of the primary factors that shape the responses of a reader.
2. the view of the division line that the reader draws in order to segregate the objective elements of the text from its subjective elements.
3. their conclusion as to whether a single reading of a text will be able to justify the purpose of the text and whether this reading is the correct one or not. This difference has been based on the points that have been mentioned above.
Whereas other literary theories and branches of criticism depend upon the writer and his intended meaning of the work, this reader-response theory depends upon the reader and his interpretation.
There have been multiple proponents of this theory and as a result, several branches of this theory emerged. The students seeking assignment help from the topic must keep in mind these branches and their development as well as distinctions in order to benefit from it:
It was stated and propounded by David Bleich and stated that a reader is essential to the understanding of a particular text. The individual responses are later compared to the other individual interpretations so that it can be figured whether there is a continuity between the meanings of the text as interpreted by different readers.
This criticism was propounded by Louise Rosenblatt and supported by Wolfgang Iser. It stated that there exists a transaction between the inferred meaning of the text and the interpretations that individuals make after being influenced by their emotions, experience as well as knowledge.
This subtype was employed by Norman Holland. He was of the opinion that the motives of a reader highly influence the way a reader reads a particular piece of work. Thus, this reading can be used to detect the psychological state of the reader.
This theory states that a text has no existence till the time it is read, therefore it only comes into existence once it is read.
This was developed by Stanley Fish. This states that the individual reading of a person is influenced by the thoughts shared by his community, consisting of people who share a specific strategy of reading and interpretation. This strategy is developed by continuous interaction and sharing of thoughts among the individuals.
The German critic Wolfgang Iser, based on the idea proposed by Roman Ingarden, developed the phenomenological analysis of the reading process. But Ingarden had limited himself to the reader’s description in general and Iser applied his theory to the analysis if various works in literature especially prose fiction.
Thereafter Iser, in his research paper writing, came up with the concepts of the implied and actual reader. The implied reader is the one who is expected to respond in a particular way based upon the general response expected from the text whereas the actual readers are the ones who come with their actual response of a particular text based upon their private experiences. But in both these cases, the responses of the reader include coherence and unity.
The reader response theorists consist of three groups. Students must remember these three groups in order to gain effective assignment help. The first group was of those who focus on individual reader’s experiences and the conclusion drawn thereafter.
The next group is that of the ones who conduct experiments upon a set of readers and then record their observations. Such theorists are called experimenters. The last one is called uniformists who assume a uniform response of the readers towards a particular text.
Therefore, based on the above theories and groups, the reader-response theory has impacted the literary world at large. These were a few basic points on his concept that evolved in this world.