Reader's Response to Text

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The responder’s sense of belonging and exclusion from the text is evoked from the discourse between responder and the text – further influenced by the composer’s purpose, values and textual features. Gaita manipulates the Romanticised representation of the loving father in opposition to the troubled mother figure Christine to evoke a sense of belonging in the reader to the filial biography “Romulus, My Father”. Conversely, Gary Crew’s “Strange Objects” barricades the reader through the repellent protagonist and postmodern textual techniques. Whereas in the epic ballad “The Lady of Shallot”, Tennyson’s Victorian contextual values of gender and class may conflict with that of the responder, thus affecting their sense of belonging to the text. Gaita’s retrospective and remorseful tone builds an empathetic link with the reader so as to develop a sense of belonging to the memoir, “Romulus, My Father”. This ‘perioautobiography’ belongs to the genre of life writing, the author writing around and about the self. Thus, it can be viewed as a form of catharsis and ‘scriptotherapy’ for composer Gaita; as evident through his and Romulus’ regret in not being accepting of Christine’s mental disorder, “No doubt we were ignorant of the nature of such illness, as many people still are today.“ Additionally, this demonstrates the transforming attitudes over time towards mental illness and belonging. Susan Green describes in Genre: Life Writing “the narrative of life enables a writer or reader to better understand themselves and their relationships.” Despite the barriers of subjectivity and bias conventional of the autobiographical form, Gaita utilises this genre of life writing to induce pathos, influencing the responder’s sense of belonging to th... ... middle of paper ... However, an educated audience will be able to appreciate and connect to the poem The Lady of Shallot through its textual integrity of Tennyson amalgamation of textual form, features and structures to convey his contextual concerns. The composer’s form, features and structure in the texts “Romulus, My Father,” “Strange Objects and The Lady of Shallot” impact on the responder’s sense of belonging to the text. Additionally, the interaction between the responder and the text through the characterisation, disparities in gender and class values as well as social ideologies is revealed to consequently influence the responder’s intrinsic sense of belonging to the text. Paradoxically, the emotional response of the audience evoked by the text, whether it is admiration or contempt, unintentionally demonstrates a connection of belonging binding the responder and text.

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