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English
School
Los Angeles Pierce College
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Homework
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Jasmine Nezhad
Professor MacLeod
English 101 (22804)
4 November 2019
Reader Response Theory
Many people believe that when a text is written, the creator is the only one who is
privileged enough to possess an understanding of its meaning. However, people in our society
have a different perception of what can be said within a text. This can be another known as a
reader-response theory which goes all the way back to the late 1930s. This theory is connected to
a belief that one’s meaning is not particular, and how a reader’s interpretation of a text is matters
more than the author's intended meaning. A text cannot have any definite meaning behind it until
the one reads and experiences it. This essay argues that the reader-response theory is correct
compared to the authorial intent.
The argument for Reader’s Response Theory
Authorial Intent
Authorial intent model advances the position that the author of a text has a better
understanding of what they meant and consequently can interpret their works better than the
reader. Therefore, authorial intent is emphatic that any contradictions to the author’s
understanding defy the intentions that an author of a text had. While readers have the freedom to
discuss and explore source texts for their fandoms, reviewing the work of an author may not
produce the real intentions that he or she had when they produced their materials (Spirovska
p21). The concept of fan service depends on the interpretation of specific motivations of the
authors of a text in relation to the expected reader’s reaction and response. Imperatively, when

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authors or creators discuss their sources and materials in public, they attribute their statements
and writing based on their intent. Critics believe that authorial intent makes the assumption that
creators of works are fully conscious of the meaning of their working and ignore or underplay
the contribution that readers' purposes make in understanding a text in many forms.
The problem with authorial intent as observed by Wimsatt and Beardsley is that it creates
intentional fallacy. The authors argue in their work that the meaning of literary work is not
necessarily about what is in the author's mind at the time of writing or later but has more to do
with what readers see in such literary pieces (Whiteley & Canning p1). Therefore, intentional
fallacy advances that it is not possible to know the intent of an author when analyzing their work.
What the work says may be different from what the author of the work meant. Readers interpret
similar texts differently and the intent of the author may fail to carry much weight though very
essential in any works of literature. The dependence on the author's intention in literary
interpretation and assigning meaning creates intentional fallacy which denotes an invalid way of
reasoning (Heller & Kirsch p1). Therefore, when a reviewer or critics bases their interpretation
of texts on external evidence which emphasizes the intentions of an author, their judgment and
analysis become fallacious (Spirovska p22). The implication is that the author's intents are
neither desirable or not essential when making a judgment about the literary work.
Reader’s Response Theory
The notion that an individual’s interpretation of texts carries similar weight to someone
else amounts to fallacy and recipe for chaos. Readers have always responded to what they read in
different ways, especially based on their experiences and level of understanding. For instance,
great Western philosophers like Plato and Aristotle were concerned about how their audiences
responded to their texts and how their plays generated pity or fear (Heller & Kirsch p1). For

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Jasmine Nezhad Professor MacLeod English 101 (22804) 4 November 2019 Reader Response Theory Many people believe that when a text is written, the creator is the only one who is privileged enough to possess an understanding of its meaning. However, people in our society have a different perception of what can be said within a text. This can be another known as a reader-response theory which goes all the way back to the late 1930s. This theory is connected to a belief that one’s meaning is not particular, and how a reader’s interpretation of a text is matters more than the author's intended meaning. A text cannot have any definite meaning behind it until the one reads and experiences it. This essay argues that the reader-response theory is correct compared to the authorial intent. The argument for Reader’s Response Theory Authorial Intent Authorial intent model advances the position that the author of a text has a better understanding of what they meant and consequently can interpret their works better than the reader. Therefore, authorial intent is emphatic that any contradictions to the author’s understanding defy the intentions that an author of a text had. While readers have the freedom to discuss and explore source texts for their fandoms, reviewing the work of an author may not produce the real intentions that he or she had when they produced their materials (Spirovska p21). The concept of fan service depends on the interpretation of specific motivations of the aut ...
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