The influence of intertextuality on my response to Harwood's poetry.

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Topics: Gender role, Gender, Role
Siobhan Sullivan
3AB English Literature

Intertextuality
Intertextuality is more than recognising similarities between texts, it is a reading strategy employed by readers to enhance their understanding of a text. Intertextuality involves recognising similarities between texts and then using your understanding developed from the previous text to develop a reading for sequential texts. “Burning Sappho” and “Prize Giving” by Gwen Harwood, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, have all been constructed to explore gender roles within society. It is this similarity between these texts that allowed me to apply intertextuality as a reading strategy to enhance my understanding of the characters within these texts.

Intertextuality is the construction of meaning and a response by exploring other texts. Through Intertextuality readers are able to develop a greater understanding of meaning as they can apply the knowledge that they have gained from previous texts. Intertextuality as a reading strategy can be applied to texts which explore similar themes, settings, characters or are constructed to be of the same genre or writing style. The reading of one text is more than likely to influence the meanings constructed of sequential texts, as readers will approach a text with ideas and attitudes gained from the previous text. Intertextuality may subvert or reinforce a reader’s initial response to a text. This is because different texts may convey similar or contradicting attitudes. It is then within the reader as to which idea or theme will be accepted. This reading process can be applied to any text to construct meaning, and it is inevitable that readers will make references and links to the previous texts that they have read. As “Prize Giving”, “Burning Sappho”, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Macbeth explore gender roles it was logical for me, as a reader to compare and contrast these texts to enhance my reading for each of these texts.

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