Decode Literature

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"Some structuralist arguments would appear to assume that the critic identifies the 'appropriate' codes for deciphering the text and then applies them, so that the codes of text and the codes of the reader gradually converge into a unitary knowledge."

Eagleton 108


Eagleton goes on to say that this is surely too simple of a conception of what reading really is. Even if it is simple minded, it is a good concept of what goes on when we are reading literary criticisms. We are attempting to figure out the code the critic used and then apply it when we read the text that is being criticized. I think that is the point of trying on different "lenses" when we read. Once we figure out how the critic is reading the text, we can look at whether we agree or not.


Erica Gearhart said:

I really like that you call the type of criticism an author is using a "code." When the type of criticism is not obviously stated, it does seem that we almost have to decipher their meaning, and sometimes we have to do this even when we know the school of criticism that is being used. You make a really good point-we are sometimes like detectives trying to solve the big case or crack the code, only our case happens to be literature instead of robbery or murder.

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