Judging a book by its cover
"The critic is right to think that the text should speak to us."
In any piece of literary work, we, as critics try to shift and mold the words on the page so that they pertain to us...whether that be our past experiences, or current situations. It's inevitable. No matter how good a work is, it can always be better if we can relate to it on the same level.
But, as critics, we must try to avoid doing this without having proper background information of the time period, the author, etc. It's like the old saying "judging a book by its cover". If we read something in EL312 without any background information on it, then we are passing judgment on it, even if it is just us trying to give the text a deeper meaning by having it relate to our lives. Hirsch puts it best on page 18 where he says that "a text cannot be made to speak to us until what it says has been understood". To understand a text fully, we must also take into account the author, his/her background, and what was effecting him/her at the time of penmanship.