What is the Author trying to Portray?

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"What did the poet intend it for?" --whether stage or study, whether court audience or popular-- the answer seems in principle likely to be useful to the extent that it is accurate" (Watson 31).

After reading this quote, I immediately thought that it related to this class. As we progress, week by week, in this course we are trying to determine what the author's intent was. An author may only intend for a poem to be written, but someone in the 21st century may turn it into a film play.

This quote also dives into the topic of why an author chooses a particular format for their work. For example, if I wrote a poem about family and only intended for it to be read from paper, then my intention is specific. Now say that someone, 20 years later, reads my poem and turns it into a play or movie theme, then my intention is mis-interpreted. The idea of author intent has a fine line that consists of many questions.

As a result, we will never know the true intent of an author's work if we are not able to talk to that person. We can make assumptions and educated interpretations for an author's work, but we will always be asking questions. This would include why did the author use this semi-colon or exclamation mark?

I will leave you with a question that I thought of while reading this critical essay.

If an author states their intention for their piece of literature then should we believe the words on the paper or should we question them because the author may be trying to mislead us into thinking in a different mindset?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Watson

1 Comment

I think it is difficult to really know the answer to that question. I think that if the author says what his intent was, a person would have to go through the text and find numerous good examples to uphold the author's proclamation. But, this is method is obviously not fool-proof (for nothing in English is ever fully right or wrong, except grammar, and mostly all teacher/professors post fifth grade just automatically assume you know grammar). I guarantee someone could refute that statement and I welcome any challengers.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on February 7, 2009 12:19 AM.

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