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The Reader-Response mode of literary criticism is applicable to ANY piece of writing. While reading a dense novel like The French Luitenant's Woman your mind was in constant engagement. When a reader is thinking about a book, there are lots of things that are happening in the mind, and paying attention to those responses and perhaps actively thinking about how the author is writing in a way to make the readers react a particular way is reader-response criticism. Reader response criticism is just as the name implies -- a thoughtful approach to noting how you as a reader are responding to a text. As you read and take note of your reactions to characters or events, or you ask yourself questions about the text, you are engaging in reader-response criticism. Here are few specific examples of responses:
- What does the title suggest the work will be about?
- What is the signficance of the opening chapter? Am I drawn in?
- What do I like or not like about the major and minor characters?
- What do I think of the writing style? React to things like vocabulary, syntax, strucure of chapters, choice of narrator.
- How does the author want me to react to specific characters or situations? How does the author manipulate me?
- What are my predictions?
- Do I notice any use of irony? symbolism? motif? Do I like it?
- Am I satisfied with the ending?
- What makes the work memorable? important? meaningful?
- What did I like about the work? What frustrated me?
As you can see, the questions are all opinion questions based entirely on a person's individual reaction or response to the work. That is the essential issue of this type of criticism.
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