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Readers and Text Meanings

4 Pages 875 Words January 2018

Language – often defined as “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”, the aforementioned has played an eminent role in our society from the beginning of time. As human beings, language is a part of our human heritage that is often passed down from parents to children within the speech communities where we live. A child born in India is most likely to speak Hindi and a child born in Washington is likewise, most likely to speak English. Had the two children been switched around during birth, they’d also switch the language capabilities they possess. Language, however, is not confined to only the human voice resonating in other’s ears. Words written by humans possess the ability to transcend meanings from one to another. As Roland Barthes once said, “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author”. So truly, how is it that we humans – we readers – shape the meaning of a particular text at hand?

The question at hand is highly subjective. To begin with, we as people are born as blank slates whose individuality is then painted and crafted by our experiences, emotions, faith and beliefs’ as we grow into adulthood and swim through our daily existence. As the theory of existentialism rightfully states, the individual person is the only agent that can determine his or her own life by means of acts of the will. This means that our life is based on our own decisions. As each person is different and has become the human they are today based on their own choices, is it not fair to say that their personal experiences can manipulate the way they articulate and form a common consensus on a text at hand? For instance, will a woman who has been brought up in free America not find a textual piece on women’s rights violation under Islamic law more abominating than an Islamic woman brought up in the same circumstances in th...

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