Reader Response for a Text from the Ancient World
What is Reader-Response criticism?
This variety of criticism focuses on the ways in which readers themselves construct the meanings within a text rather than the author. Readers create meaning by interacting with text based on their outside interests and expectations. Readers comment on the text based on the relevance of the text to themselves or the world around them.
Getting Started –
You will need to read the work or passage in question at least twice before you begin writing. Using your annotation skills, look for passages that you think need further discussion. You may wish to use the Reading Response worksheet to take notes on the text. An outline might be useful at this stage as well. DO NOT GO TO CLIFFNOTES, SPARKNOTES, OR OTHER “STUDY” GUIDES FOR INFORMATION. This assignment is about you and the text.
The Process — The paper should have three sections:
- The introduction — You should outline the basics of the text to be examined. Give the author, title and a brief history of where the work came from. The introduction should also include the thesis, a statement outlining what the your ultimate reaction to the work in question is.
- The summary – You will need to accurately retell entirely in your own words the basic elements of the work you are examining; be sure to document specific details as you go. Those basic elements include introducing the main character(s), the setting, and the plot as the author has presented it.
- The response – How you respond to the text is up to you. Here are some of the ways you might focus your paper.
- You might examine one of the critical questions you asked on the Reading Response worksheet. What do you think is the answer to the question? What details in the text lead you to the answer?
- You might choose to focus on the representation of a character or a theme within the text. Why do you think the author chose to represent the character or present the theme in this way?
- You can discuss how the text does or does not connect with a 21st century student. What do you see as significant, important, or interesting about the work for a 21st century student?