Interpreting a Text
Interpreting a Text
The interpretation of a text is a topic that has been discussed by many scholars. The activity can result in endless possible outcomes. Some writers maintain that the interpretation of a text entirely depends on the author’s intention as well as his concepts. However, other writers challenge this, insisting that the author has no control over what the readers will perceive of the text. Hereby, the reader holds complete control over the interpretation of the text. The current paper discusses the similarities and differences offered by Benjamin, Cervantes, Bakhtin, and Barthes in regards to the narrator/reader relationship and point them out. Moreover, the paper describes the two social media stories and the level of importance that these two entities have in social media relations.
Benjamin, Cervantes, Bakhtin, and Barthes present their arguments towards the same topic. Bakhtin argues that the text may be in existence for a long period of time. Over this period, experiences of people change and so do their culture. Therefore, they experience the world in a different way, one in which the author of the text has not. All these people do read the same text. Consequently, their meaning towards the text is subject to change. He, thus, claims that the interpretation of the text is made from the reader’s perspective (Andrews 10). Bakhtin further explains that the exact words used in the writing of an essay require a lot of speculation and reasoning on the part of the reader to fully understand the importance of the concept.
Barthes states that the interpretation of Benjamin’s text was very difficult. Even the translators who were very close to the text sometimes had difficulties in establishing the meaning of the text. This happened despite their closeness to the text. He strongly opposes that authors hold a stake towards the interpretation of their text. Barthes argues that once the writer writes down his thoughts, the voice and point of origin are destroyed, claiming that the meaning shifts to language, and to what meaning the dictionary holds to a word at that time. This, therefore, shows that the relationship that crops up between the reader and the text is a result of the reader’s personal practical encounter with the language. The use of different styles of language in writing changes how the reader perceives the message since, in some instances, the literal meaning of a phrase is misleading. The reader has to relate the phrase to their personal experiences, and these experiences vary from person to person (Shevtsova 759). Barthes argues that the text can be sloppy and flawed, with numerous layers and multiple meanings. The author, as a result, losses the ability to influence the perception of the reader towards his text. The readers have to liberate the text to perceive the meaning. Barthes states that the traditional approach to literary texts springs up a problem. Thus, it is not possible to identify precisely what the author intended to pass along.
Cervantes’ text has the meaning that the reader lends to it. Therefore, the nature of literature depends on the readers who successively read it, and whose interpretation of the same varies. When old books are read, the readers do not do so in the same way. The books become hosted in the sense of the readers whose language and culture is different. The culture difference brings about the variation in practices and, consequently, experiences. The language, on the other hand, brings about the possibility of words used to have different meanings over the different languages. Therefore, the meaning that the author may have intended to bring out is lost. He says that the reader’s creativity towards interpreting the text is what a narrative be good (Bloom 9).
All of the mentioned writers agree that the reader is the one who determines the meaning of the text. However, Cervantes tilts his discussion towards the assumption that the variation of languages that the different users use. Bakhtin, on the other hand, sees the variation of perception being because of the culture differences of the readers. In fact, Cervantes and Bakhtin agree that literature has clarity. Barthes, however, criticizes this, saying that the class of the author greatly affects the clarity of his text (McQuillan 57). Undoubtedly, the speaker or the author will definitely instill meaning into the text. This is the purpose of the text in the first place. Thus, whichever meaning the reader deduces, the text has a big influence on it. As one struggles to read and get the message in a book, the ideas of a book also restructure the readers’ thoughts. It makes readers to reason from its angle of view. This angle of view is the one that the author had while writing the book, so his perception of what he was writing about will greatly influence what the reader perceives. Accordingly, the meaning of the text will bear the writer’s intent to some extent.
In social media, the reader renders the meaning of a text. The receivers of the message have different opinions towards the topic of discussion, thus, their perception of the meaning varies from one individual to the other. The narrator may post the message on social media, but as soon as he does that, he cannot control the meaning that people who get the meaning hold.
Several factors in social media do not exist in the world of literature. In social media, once the message has been sent or posted, people on the social media site can leave comments. This way, they are able to express their opinions and share concerns about the topic of discussion. The person who posted the message also has the chance to reply directly to comments that arise from the post. They can also elaborate further on their post as well as clarify issues that may have been misinterpreted. On the other hand, once a literary book has been published, the author does not get a chance to explain or clarify issues that may arise as a result of the publication of the article. The author thus has no platform on which he can clarify misinterpretations on his work shortly after he releases his work. Corrections are only done in subsequent publications, which take quite some time before it is done.
Social media posts can be scrapped of if the message tends to deviate from the intended one. This way, one can avoid repercussions that may have arisen from the sending of the message. On the contrary, literature publications cannot be scrapped of after publication. The message that is contained in the text stays on the text for as long as the text is in existence.
The literary text often contains materials used to entertain or to tell a story. It is a one- way communication, where the reader gets the message but cannot reply. On the other hand, social media can be used to entertain and advertise, with the audience having the chance to communicate with the narrator. Literary texts are mainly presented in the form of hard copies, which can be printed. Social media, on the other hand, is only available online, which requires one to use electronics that can access the Internet for one to get hold of the information.
The value of social media information is less important compared to the value of information acquired in literary texts. Since any person can post any information on the social media. This information can either be true or false as there are no measures to validate the information. The writing of a literary text is quite involving, unlike sending a message on social media. The person intending to pass information must have solid grounds for them to do so. The text also carries the name of the author, so the writer will not pass incorrect information on a text that will bear his name all the time. The relationship between the narrator and the reader in social media is very important. The narrator must have a cordial relationship with the reader for the message to have desired effects on the reader. The narrator also needs the reader to be checking their updates. Thus, they need to have the reader’s acceptance that whatever message they pass on will be of help to the reader. Thus, the reader will always read the message. The reader also requires being in good terms with the narrator so that he will be allowed to access the narrator’s content or the narrator will continue to send him the messages. The relation between the two entities is important if communication in the social media takes place.
In conclusion, each text bears a meaning. It is evident that the perception of a text lies in the hands of the reader. However, the writer still has a claim on what meaning the reader will get from the text, since the text carries the author’s idea all the time, no matter how long it takes. The writer and the author still hold a unifying factor. This can be seen in the case of social media, where the passing of information reception and the consequent perception require each of them to play their role. Therefore, maintaining a proper relationship is necessary if a narrator’s text is to get to the target audience and achieve the desired effect.
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