A reader’s role in literature is complex and involves perspective. It is a necessary role because a text is written to be read, and the reader has a duty in completing the work, therefore giving it a new identity through the reading process they experience. A work of literature would mean nothing if there was no one to read it, decipher it, and analyze its content. That is the case because literature demands readers to acquire any sort of meaning. It’s a series of steps that you must take in order to become the perfect reader and to truly appreciate a text or make a valid point as to why the text is not to your liking.
My development as a reader has been the same. It has been a long sequence of reading more, getting better, learning, and analyzing in depth. Since a student first enters the school system, we are taught to read better, to rise in our grade level of reading and those are initially pivotal for the process of first becoming a reader. However, as we grow older and as we read much more advanced literature, we lose the passion and the underlying meaning of being a reader. The role is not simple, and reading isn’t just skimming through a text to please your teacher. As I have discovered through my time in FIQWS- Self and Other in Literature, reading is about making connections. Whether it be personal, to another work of literature, or even current events; we as a human body have the extraordinary ability to read words and make stories out of them. The beauty of reading is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and flexible the human mind is. Humans have not invented just one cognitive universe, but thousands of millions of realities embedded in different works of literature. And through my time this semester, I have witnessed that myself. By discussing different genres of literature, from comics to children’s readings, to novels, and poems, I was able to observe different perspectives of one piece of work. Different students pointed out different parts of the reading that I would have never noticed if not for their participation. And through this, they were also able to connect the literature to their own lives, making the entire reading become more symbolic and perhaps hold a greater meaning than before.
Developing a sentence is much more complicated than what it initially seems like. Of course, when someone is plainly talking without thinking, it does not seem important. But when a writer is creating a work of literary substance, every sentence counts. The structure of a sentence and every word that it contains can drastically change the meaning you’re trying to assure. I agree that it’s as though you’re taking a polaroid picture. What appears to be a simple and mindless act can quite remarkably be the difference between perfection and awful. Just like taking a picture, there are countless things that someone can do to mess up the product. Whether it be holding the camera wrong, clicking the button too soon or too late, not patiently waiting for the lens to center around the object, and moving the camera right after haven taken the picture. Developing a sentence can be viewed quite literally the same. If it’s created in haste, doesn’t have the right vocabulary, doesn’t have the tone in which the writer desires, or doesn’t create the impact intended for the reader, it can be what causes a piece of writing to fail. However, it’s not just one singular sentence that can do this. Sentences create paragraphs and paragraphs create pages and pages create a vast amount of literary works. Therefore, if a writer or author slacks off on one sentence, it can very easily become more and then an entire piece can be dysfunctional. And no one wants a blurry polaroid picture just like no one wants to read something that has been written poorly.
James Baldwin writes that language is “a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public or communal identity” (781). Language is such a complicated yet beautiful concept that shapes the way we think. What’s so miraculous about language is that humans have this magical ability to transit complicated thoughts and experiences to one another. We’re able to understand each other and communicate this across vast reaches of space and time. With this, we’re able to construct our own realities but still relate it to others. Therefore, Baldwin was correct, language has tremendous power. This semester I, as a reader, was able to connect to both people and fictional characters in a literary sense. By reading “Ms Marvel”, I was instantly associated many of the challenges I’ve gone through to Kamala Khan’s. Whether it was being a teenager, not having parents who understand, or wanting to be someone else; I had the capability to put myself into this character’s shoes and make a whole other reality that has never existed before solely due to my own experiences and perspective. This, I believe, is extraordinary because two people could be reading the same text and get two different analyzations of what it meant to them. And the only reason that that’s possible is because, although we can share understanding, we all have our own different experiences. Thus, language is able to “unlock, reveal, connect, or divorce you from the greater world” and through this, create different cognitive realms and realities.