Towards A Transactional Theory Of Reading, By Louise M. Rosenblatt

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Reading poetry, not only evokes feelings, it also triggers memories and past experiences. “The reader is paying attention to the images, feelings, attitudes, associations that the words evoke in him” (Rosenblatt, 34) We create our own meaning from a literary work of art when we relate to it; when we can bring our own personal experiences to the table. It’s all about the relationship between the reader and the literary work of art. This is why the reader response criticism is so effective in order to interpret literary works of arts. It allows the reader to experience the work in whole different level. After all, “The poem is what the reader lives through under the guidance of the text and experiences as relevant to the text.” (38) In her 1969 essay, “Towards a Transactional Theory of Reading”, Louise M. Rosenblatt supported the reader response process. Rosenblatt considered the reader response theory to be based in a two-way process between the literary work and the reader. Rosenblatt was against the formalist theory; she believed that a poem is more than just some ink on a paper and it’s not a whole by itself. The act of reading involves -meaning making-which happens in the reader 's mind, not on the page but in the act. The reader response theory focuses on affective fallacy. That’s why stimulus-response is necessary in order to formulate meaning in a literary work. Close reading is important, readers go through, “a phase such as ‘on second thought’, ‘a second look’ and ‘another idea (32)’” to formulate different meanings. It’s important to re-read a text to catch important cues we could’ve missed in the first reading and in order to find new meanings. Reader Response is all about the emotions the literary work evokes in the rea... ... middle of paper ... ...ough a roller-costar of emotions reading Neruda’s work. It is clear the author’s intention is to convey a message about the up and down’s of love. First, we are invited into a conversation. Then we witness through beautiful imagery the love of this man for a woman. He loves her so much it seems like he’s afraid to lose her; or too afraid to love her more than she loves him back. In conclusion, the speaker is frightened of their love because he feels insecure; that suddenly one day she might decide to stop loving him. As readers, we may bring a different meaning to the story. The end leaves us hanging, that’s when we as readers may come in and give it our own meaning. As a reader, unless you’ve never been in love, it’s impossible to read this poem and not think of someone right away. Our experiences might have been different, but we share a common bond, which is love.

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