Reader Response

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Anton S. Shelton
October 31, 2011
Week 1: Assignment
David Makhanlall, Instructor

The reader response-response approach to critical literature “asks you to “connect” with literature, to find a personal link or imaginative entry into a story, poem, or play.” (Clugston, P. 413) Normally for any reader, this is one of the main characteristics the reader is performing. The reader by default is looking for some form of connection to the literary work he/she may be reading. Therefore, when the reader begins to make these connections, they are already utilizing the reader-response perspective.

In the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, James Thurber seemed to create a character that found ways to patch over his wifes nagging with how own imaginary stories. It seemed as though he had pretend lives that he used with the wife. When he was driving the car, he pretended that he was in the Navy or maybe had a flashback to the days when he may have really been in the Navy. In all of his different stories, he was the person at the head or the top of the organization and everyone else depended on him. These different stories can be seen as coping mechanisms that Walter Mitty is using to escape his reality.

I think we all use coping mechanisms at some point in our lives. This is what allowed me to draw a connection with this story. There are times when I pretend that I am a gospel choir director and that I am directing a large gospel choir who sings with pin point accuracy, pitch and harmony. I also pretend that I sometimes need to step down from my role as the choir director and sing a solo or three for the large audience that we are performing for. These coping mechanisms allow us to escape our reality, re-arrange the negativity or not so positive things in our own lives and for a moment live in a dream. From reading the story I was able to gather that Walter Mitty wasn’t a young man. Some of us go on to actually live our true dreams while others can only settle for the...
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