Responding to Reader Response

The reader response theory is a very strange concept to me. Although it quite obvious and natural that people think while they read, it is an odd occurrence to think about what you’re thinking about while reading. It is even weirder to be reading about and thinking about what you’re thinking about while you’re reading, and then putting into words and theory those processes. Makes a lot of sense, right?

But really, it is interesting to contemplate the thought processes that go into reading. In my essay I focused on the concept of how people’s identities determine how they read a work. It got me thinking about the way in which I imagined the story, and how my background influences my perceptions.

I also was able to compare my vision with the performance of Stop Kiss that I saw with my class. I remember thinking disappointing and provoking thoughts as the play was happening like, “I imagined Callie to be more of a rough city girl, the tomboy type” or “I didn’t realize that this was what was actually happening between the characters in that scene!” I realized that the perceptions of others, such as the play director and the actors, may differ from my interpretation. I asked myself, why is this?

As I was writing my paper and the ideas came together, I realized that these differences are due to  the fact that people can read the same work and have a completely different picture of the characters and what is happening in the “gaps” of the plot. Maybe this is the reason why the movies are never as good as the books–they simply can’t capture your imagination, let alone live up to everyone’s ideas about what it should look like.

To see my Reader Response Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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That’s A Wrap!

At this very moment I have just realized that with the turning in of my Reader Response essay first draft I have just finished writing my final essay for my ENGL 305: Literary Theory and Writing class! While I may have some revisions to do on the essay after my professor peer reviews it, the bulk of the work is done. I have completed my sixth and last essay–and with that, the class!

Looking back on my experience in this class, I know that I have learned so much. Not only have I learned about literary theory, but also how to write, research, analyze, manage time, read and synthesize information from literary criticisms, create an online portfolio and to blog, and push through the many difficulties that came my way during the writing process. I am proud of myself for sticking with this upper-level class–despite the large commitment it took and fear of failure.

This semester has flown by! I can remember the first days of class when I was just 17 and unsure of my abilities and interest as a writer. Now I am a much more confident, skilled, and experienced writer. My time in Lit 305 has been an excellent experience that has opened my eyes to the world of English, literature, writing and how I can use these skills in the future.

While I have personally enjoyed this class, which has satisfied and encouraged my passion for writing, I will admit that I am a bit exhausted. I have had a very busy, homework-heavy semester and writing 6 intense essays has taken up a lot of my time and energy. While I look forward to more writing in the future, I am excited for the upcoming winter break to recharge.

From here on out I just need to focus on doing my reader response essay revisions, finalizing my blog, writing and peer reviewing biographies with my partner before I can turn in my final portfolio this week!

To see my Reader Response Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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My “Transaction” with Reader Response

For this essay, I underwent the same process as always: read, prepare, research, and write–oh, and wishing I could finish the process faster to turn it in close to the due date!

I began my Reader Response essay by reading the supplementary criticisms and the textbook, taking notes and marking passages that would help me later with writing the essay. I then spent a couple of days in class learning about the numerous reader response critics and their theories. Next, I brainstormed an interesting topic that I wanted to discuss in my essay and created a concept outline mapping out the different reader response theories I saw within Stop Kiss. I then submitted my thesis proposal with the outline to my professor for peer review. After receiving the peer review from my professor with suggestions, I began tightening my thesis and cutting down my outline to the main points I was trying to make. This was tricky, because I had to find the commonalities between my points, condense them, and tie them to the correct theorists that I would later reference in my paper.

Afterward, I spent a day on researching sources for the essay. Aside from the passages I had marked and other information in my criticism books, I was lucky enough to be able to find some primary sources from the three main theorists that I featured in my essay on the internet. I found a very interesting interview that contained conversation between Iser and Holland, in which they explained their own theories and posed questions to one another that they each replied to in complex and merited discussion.

Finally, I wrote my essay. Because I had found so much helpful information in my research, sorting through it all and determining where I would place the endnotes took a considerable amount of time and concentration. Like the New Historical essay, the Reader Response essay was a bit more challenging for me, because it was a new writing style that I had not encountered before. I also tried a new approach to my writing by using a less detailed outline and filling in my thoughts as I went while plugging in appropriate quotations from the theory I had researched.

Hopefully I accomplished the correct approach to writing this essay, and that it turns out much better than my New Historical! Now I just wait for the peer review…

To see my Reader Response Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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