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ERIC Number: ED307614
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Half Someone Else's: Theories, Stories, and the Conversation of Literature.
Keroes, Jo
Despite their impact on literary criticism, contemporary theories of reader response and deconstruction seem to have had little effect on the practice of teaching literature, and most teachers of introductory literature courses remain vague about what these "new" theories are and how they can be used. Proponents of some of these theories argue that there is a text fixed permanently in the world, with secrets waiting to be unlocked by the perceptive reader able to decipher its code. Other theorists contend that the text is rendered wildly unstable either by the vagaries of human personality or by the whims of the community that interprets it. A more useful theory is that "the story" is in fact central to the reader's involvement with a work of fiction, that it is what determines the reader's engagement with and interpretation of the literary text and that students need to be invited into the process of story telling. In particular, stories about story telling can be helpful because they are metaphors for the reader-writer relationship and demonstrate how essential writers know their readers to be in both the making and the interpretation of a literary work. The struggle stories such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Wakefield" and Grace Paley's "A Conversation with my Father" suggest the struggle individuals are always engaged in to negotiate textual territory as tellers and listeners, while trying to respect the author's property rights as people stake out their readerly claim. (Twenty-six references are attached.) (MS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A