What’s the meaning?

Some of the readings this week really resonated with me, especially the parts about meaning creation. I have definitely thought about meaning and how what I get out of reading may be slightly different that the meaning that the writer intended. Now, being in a writing class, it is interesting to change my perspective to think about the meaning I am creating in my writing. I particularly liked what Teirney and Pearson wrote about (this is my summary):  All writing and reading, therefore, is an interaction between the writer and the reader: what the writer wants the meaning to be, what the reader thinks the meaning is, and what meaning the reader then associates with the text.

However, this makes me question how often the writers meaning is actually the meaning that readers get out of a text. That’s kind of a scary thought…what if you’re a writer who really wants to get your meaning across, but you have to question whether a reader will extract a completely different meaning based on his/her experiences? Maybe that’s where ideas from the “Craft of Research Reading” come in… the reader also has a role to play, and, as Teirney and Pearson discuss, it is the reader’s job to think about what meaning the writer wants to get across. 

For my own writing, I think that I need to become more cognizant of my role in creating meaning that is relevant for myself, but also relevant for other readers and something that they can understand. My experiences influence how and what I write about, so I need to make sure that these experiences are either something that people can relate to, or a least something that they can understand! 

(and I got bored with black font, so I’m changing it up) 🙂

3 thoughts to “What’s the meaning?”

  1. I agree, it is a scary thought that the reader may not understand the writer’s intent. But both of these can improve with practice. For example, a good writer can better portray what he/she wants to say. And a good reader can dissect a piece to attain a clear message.
    As Tierney and Pearson pointed out there must be alignment between the reader and writer. This is something I must work on, especially as a writer.
    Regarding your comments on how experiences influence how you write, I would disagree with this one: “I need to make sure that these experiences are either something that people can relate to…” I would argue that experiences are worth telling then they are something no one else has experienced. However you redeem yourself with the comment on how your experiences need to be “at least something that they can understand!” I would argue that writing about experiences is more about making sure your audience can understand them rather than if they can relate to them. Your experiences are unique to you and no one else has experienced exactly what you have, so let your life be known! (Just make sure it’s understandable).

  2. I liked that you disagreed with what I said, because even though I still stand by what I wrote, I think that you bring up a good point. If everyone had the same experiences and wrote about them, no one would want to read because all writing would be the same!

  3. I think the writer – reader interaction can be made more or less transparent depending on the end goal of the writer, although that does not always guarantee the intended meaning is conveyed. It’s an interesting interaction to consider. When I think of an interaction I think of two people or things reacting to each other in real time. However the writer – reader interaction is quite different.

    I wouldn’t worry about always making sure you get the meaning the writer intended, if whatever you take away from a book or piece of writing enriches your thoughts i’d say that’s all that matters.

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