Essay Ideas Behind the Complexity of Reading

1019 Words Jul 31st, 2010 5 Pages
Many would argue that to read a novel is a difficult and complex art. For one to fully understand a story, one must acquire pre-requisite skills to take all that they can, from what the author has given. This is undeniably true, as both Virginia Woolf, in “How Should One Read a Book?”, and James Wood in “The Limits of Not Quite” prove, that reading to its potential requires an open mind, the independence of the reader to ignore the critiques of others, while having the ability to make his or her own.
Far too often is it that people go into a novel with preconceived notions about its author, or the novel in particular. This is a huge mistake because “If you hang back, and reserve and criticize at first, you are preventing yourself from
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Every person will have their own unique thoughts and ideas on the book, so “nothing can be more fatal then to be guided by the preferences of others in a matter so personal.” (Woolf) This is why independence is so vital to the reader. When the reader allows him or herself be influenced by other people’s opinions, it takes a lot out of the experience of reading - finding the pros, cons, connections, etc. is a huge part of the reading experience. Giving this power to the critics “is to destroy the spirit of freedom,” (Wood) that so many get from reading. To ignore the influence of others can be extremely difficult, but necessary part of reading to its potential. It is just another part of the difficult and complex pleasure, known as reading. In order to take reading to its potential, the reader must be able to make his/her own individual judgments based on the book - if they enjoyed it, if not, or if the story itself was even believable, and why. The freedom to make such decisions can be quite a daunting task for some readers, as there can be so much going on at one time. The reader’s decision to believe, or not to, is a “belief that is requested, that we can refuse at any time, that is under our constant surveillance.”(Wood) The decision is ultimately made by the reader and may change several times throughout

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