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.