“Around, around the sun we go,
The moon goes ‘round the earth . . .
We do not die of death,
We die of vertigo!”
- from The Crow by James O’Barr
The question of whether or not an author can claim that his or her work is original has been in debate for many years now. This, compounded with the question of whether or not an author can adequately understand or express his or her own work or if the interpretation and understanding belongs in the hands of the readers or the critics, has placed the role of the author under serious scrutiny. This is especially noticeable in an age where so many works of literature are analyzed and critiqued by every reader and critique before turning the work into a movie or play, causing it to be further analyzed and discussed. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the various concepts of the author’s role, originality, and intent, using the graphic novel The Crow by James O’Barr as an example of a work of literature.
The Role of the Author
Donald E. Pease, in his article “Author,” suggests that the role of the author was, originally, that of a “cultural attaché” of sorts, defining, exploring, and connecting the thoughts and values of the culture. As the “ New World ” was discovered and explored, it became the job of the author to record and explain the new cultures and concepts that they saw, allowing them in essence to create an entirely new lexicon and way of writing. No longer was the author bound solely to his (or her) own culture; the author now had the power to incorporate several cultures and thoughts into a single work, or simply create an entirely new basis for thought and writing. It was...
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...ughlin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. 105-17.
Martin, Scott. Annotations to The Crow by James O’Barr . Last updated 9 July 1998. Accessed 23 April 2003. <http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Balcony/2570/crownote.htm>.
Miner, Margaret, and Hugh Rawson. The New International Dictionary of Quotations . 3 rd ed. New York: Signet, 2000.
Orr, Jeff. “More on O’Barr.” The InterREactive Crow Page . Last updated 1999. Access 23 April 2003. <http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/1777/crow1/james.html>.
Renza, Louis A. “Influence.” Critical Terms for Literary Study . 2 nd ed. Ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. 186-202.
Thompson Chain-Reference Bible . King James Version. 5 th ed. Ed. Frank Charles Thompson, D.D., Ph.D. Indianapolis: B. B. Kirkbride Bible Co., Inc., 1988.
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