Reader Response

External Factors & Reader-Response Criticism

premise: your interpretation and analysis of a script depends greatly on who you are as well as your personal values and includes factors such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, orientation, religion, etc.

  • to analyze a script, you must employ extrinsic criticism (factors that exist beyond the script itself)
  • the reader is the text: a script doesn’t mean anything until someone reads it and gives it meaning

related ideas

  • all meaning is ascribed (created, assigned)
  • perception is reality

words and meaning

  • denote/denotation: actual, understood meaning
  • connote/connotation: implied, associated, or figurative meaning

the text cannot be separated from what it does:

  • the role of the reader cannot be omitted from our understanding of literature
  • readers do not passively consume meaning from an objective text; they construct their own meaning

primary components:

  1. your response
  2. your analysis of your response
  3. your analysis of others’ responses

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