Approaches to Reading Text with Examples from Jane Austen's Emma

3941 Words 16 Pages
This paper presents the two of the four main reading approaches to reading a text. In this paper, Jane Austen’s novel Emma will be used to demonstrate these approaches; providing a detailed description into both reading practice, including reader-centred and author-centred. As it is now widely acknowledged that no text is neutral, these practices are one way of conceptualising changes in the theories and practices of literary study that have occurred during the twentieth century.
Each approach is characterised by particular assumptions and values and therefore places greater or lesser emphasis on the interactions that occur between both the author and the reader as we read. To justify these approaches, I have also used defenses.
…show more content…
By the final page however, my liking of the story had dramatically improved.

It is said that in order to enjoy Emma, one must descend deeper into the story, beyond what I saw as petty nonsense. As Reginald Ferrar
(Website 1) displays, ”until you know the story, you are apt to find the movement dense, slow and obscure, difficult to follow, and not very obviously worth the following.” On the surface, Emma basically consists of scheming, gossip and trivial, over exaggerated quarreling.
In hindsight, I now see the genius of it all. After a more thorough examination of the text, I realised that Jane Austen is actually making fun of the characters and their day-to-day experiences and habits. In collaboration with a most impressive array of characters, the story is undoubtedly one of a kind, as so many readers have already discovered.

Having long been praised for its thorough and extraordinary portrayal of characters in the novel, the comical yet insightful emphasis that is placed upon each individual character, as subtle as it may be, contributes greatly to my enjoyment of Emma. I found myself, throughout most of my reading, in a position where I knew enough about a character to be humored by their idiosyncratic behavior, as Austen had, I believe, intended. Constantly teased and tormented by the obvious yet completely unavoidable dilemmas various

Related Documents