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The Intimate act of Reading

"For while my main concern here is with reading (albeit largely and perhaps imperfectly defined), I think it worth noting that there exists an intimate interaction between readers and writers in and through wich each defines for the other what s/he is about." (Kolodny 196).

I like this quote because to me it epitomizes the context of this essay. The whole point, I felt, Kolodny was trying to make was that there are difficulties in interpretation when reading outside of who we are. It only makes sense that a woman would see certain objects differently than a man would and vice versa. This is true in reality as well as in fiction. And for the time period, in which the text she uses as examples of misinterpretation, were written it makes even more sense. Woman were not taken as seriously as they are today as writers. Again, there is an absolute need to look at the historical aspects of the canonical work during the writing of the texts involved in this essay. The readers responses to them would be drastically different, in all reality though, even in the classroom today men and women see things differently. I don't think this is a negative aspect as it once was, because today we have realized the importance of learning from one another.

Reading is an intimate act. And the closer the reader is to the text, (the narrative voice), perhaps the more intimate the text becomes. This is for any reader, no matter gender or race. Kolodny does a fine job of taking this concept and applying it to the struggles of the female reader and writer, but it can be used for any writer or reader.


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Comments (2)

james lohr:

Is it really just that men see things differently than women? I know i see things differently than a skinhead. I understand that men and women very seldom if ever see things the same way...I had two sister growing up and now am married, half the time i don't understand what's going on in their minds. However, when i was writing my last paper i came across a quote from a feminist reading of "The Yellow Wallpaper" that kind of scared me, and it definitely concerns what message is being recieved. It is in concern to what feminist critics are seeing in this work. "She reads and rereads the text 'until she finds what she is looking for-no less and no more". It scares me to think that isn't this exactly what we are doing? How can we tell that we are not?

Michelle Tantlinger:

Kolondy does do an excellent job and note that she uses quotations from Nina Baym (and I mention this in the blogging carnival). I am thankful that men and women see things differently and still do to this day. I agree, Mara, that it isn’t a negative deal anymore and I think that is due to authors like Gilman. Once a mold is broken in literature, no one can stop the flooding in of new ideas.

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