Don't Read with Your Eyes

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"Too much acceptance of the author's viewpoint can lead to difficulties." (page 234)

I found the section where Foster describes the dangers of reading in another viewpoint interesting.  Many people have discussed the quote "don't read with your eyes." I completely agree with Foster on this quote.  When reading a work, we need to read from different perspectives which allow us to relate with the particular time period or issue that is occurring.  When reading works such as the Great Gatsby and the Grapes of Wrath, it would be very beneficial for us to imagine Gatsby or the Joad's views.  This way we could understand where they are coming from and why they make their decisions. 

However, we need to take into consideration Fosters dangers of accepting the author's view.  Just because an author like Pound discriminates against a certain group of people, doesn't mean we need to follow them.  Just because one person believes Jello is bad for us, doesn't mean we should all stop eating Jello.  I think it all depends on the reading, and our own personal beliefs mixed in with the author's.  If it is a novel like the Grapes of Wrath we should look through that point of view to understand what is really going on and accept the decisions made by the Joad family to go to California, but if it is a book like Cantos, we do not need to accept what he is saying.  We should use it as a learning experience to help us understand his views better, but we do not need to accept every little thing he says. 


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2 Comments

Jennifer Prex said:

I agree. It's really a matter of simply quieting our views while we read, but not throwing them out. We can keep our own views, but in order to fully understand and appreciate a work, we sometimes have to set our own views aside while we physically have the book in front of us and keep in mind that the views in the book are very different from our own--easier said than done. Something we think is completely wrong may not be in the context of the novel. Once we put it down, we can go back to our own way of thinking.

Nikita McClellan said:

Exactly! We must be consious of our own views but we mustn't be ignorant to the views of the author and/or the author's characters. It is always good to read with an open mind but also have a bit of a critical side. The hardest part is trying to balance the two sides.

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