ERIC Number: ED258207
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1966
Responses of College Freshmen to Three Novels. NCTE Research Report No. 7.
Wilson, James R.
A study was conducted to explore student response to literature and the influence of classroom experiences on that response. Three novels were selected for study: "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, and "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway. Each of 54 freshman English students read one of the novels, took notes while reading, and wrote their immediate reactions in class. After three discussion periods, they wrote follow-up reactions. This procedure was repeated with the three novels, resulting in 280 written reports. Responses were coded in seven categories: literary judgment, interpretational, narrational, associational, self-involvement, prescriptive, and miscellaneous. Individual analysis scrutinized the responses of nine subjects chosen on the basis of typical, extreme, and opposite of statistical trends on the three novels. Except for inconclusive findings in the category of self-involvement, the results showed that the students' ways of responding to literature were changed--both statistically and individually--by the study of that literature. Statistically, the study resulted in fewer literary judgments, more interpretations, less retelling of the story, and fewer self-involvement responses. The study resulted in a number of speculations and suggested applications to teaching. (EL)
Descriptors: College Freshmen, English Instruction, Fiction, Higher Education, Literature Appreciation, Novels, Reader Response, Student Reaction, United States Literature
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL 61801 (Stock No. 15904, $3.25 member, $4.25 nonmember).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL. Research Foundation.
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Champaign, IL.
Note: Replaces ED 041 014 (which is same document, but originally processed without microfiching). Report sponsored by the NCTE Committee on Research.