ISSN: 2003-2222

Author : Yaghdan Ruda Mahd, L.A.


"The Role of Indeterminacy in the meaning of A Text in reference to Fish Reader-Response Theory: an analytical study"

L.A. Yaghdan Ruda Mahd

Al-Bahith Journal, 2013, Volume 3, Issue 10, Pages 195-206

This study tries to define mainly the concept "indeterminacy" from Stanley Fish point of views included in his theory called "reader-response". The indeterminacy in language and literature simply means non-fixed meaning of a text. However, such termshould not be interpreted as there is no meaning at all but the meaning is there in the reader who is a member of an interpretive community. Indeterminacy is explained
in reader-response theory which is a part of reader-response criticism, a school of criticism that focuses on the reader (or "audience") and his or her knowledge to obtain a meaning out of a literary work, in opposite to other traditional schools and theories that focus attention primarily on the author or the content and form of the work while
the reader's role in re-creating literary work is ignored. The work of Fish can be divided into two kinds: one is phenomenological approach to reading which characterizes much of Fish's earlier work, and the other is an epistemological theory characteristic of Fish's later work. This research includes the essay entitled" Is There a Text in This Class?" because it contains the views of Fish regarding indeterminacy in his theory specially his later views.
This theory emphasizes the role of the reader who produces "real existence” to the work and completes its meaning through interpretation and not the text in itself. According to aforementioned theory and Fish the text is provided with meaning by a set of cultural assumptions, which often include authorial intent, though it is not limited to it. Moreover, as readers we interpret texts because we are part of an interpretive community that gives us a particular way of reading a text and finding its meaning. Then Fish claims that any attempt to discover the intent of the author is impossible as for Fish the author's intention is a creation of the reader who exclusively has such authority to determine upon the meaning of a text and the message of its author.There are schools just like formalism and new criticism have complete different views in opposition to the views of Fish. Such schools announced that the meaning of a text was embedded in the textual artifact or, as Wimsatt and Beardsley referred to it, "the object".