Response to Country Lovers

Topics: Literary theory, Literary criticism, Reader-response criticism Pages: 3 (710 words) Published: March 22, 2012
The first thing that captured my interest about the story “Country Lovers”, by Nadine Gordimer was the first line. “Right from the opening sentence it is clear that this will be a story about inter–racial relationships.” ( Claxton, 2010). This sentence caught my attention because it gave me mixed emotions, first of hoping that this forbidden love would have a happy ending, and also a sense of foreboding that this would not be the case due to the inter-racial theme and the setting of the story. The analytical approach that I choose to evaluate this story would be a reader- response approach. “Reader-response criticism encompasses various approaches to literature that explore and seek to explain the diversity (and often divergence) of readers' responses to literary works.” (Bedford, 1998). The reader- response approach is best described as connecting with a piece of work, and finding a personal or creative way to engage with the story. It will most likely come from a personal connection to a character or theme and the emotions that they elicit. “In reader-response critical approach, the primary focus falls on the reader and the process of reading rather than on the author or the text. Theoretical Assumptions:

Literature is a performative art and each reading is a performance, analogous to playing/singing a musical work, enacting a drama, etc. Literature exists only when it is read; meaning is an event (versus the New Critical concept of the "affective fallacy"). The literary text possesses no fixed and final meaning or value; there is no one "correct" meaning. Literary meaning and value are "transactional," "dialogic," created by the interaction of the reader and the text. According to Louise Rosenblatt, a poem is "what the reader lives through under the guidance of the text."

Varying Emphases:
How readers interpret texts: Sometimes called "subjective." May deal with published "readings" of texts and/or study nonprofessional readings...

References: The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms by Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray. Copyright 1998 by Bedford Books.
Clugston, R.W. (2010). Journey into Literature. Retrieved from
McMarus, B. (1998). Reader- Response Criticism
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