Do you think the act of reading is more accurate or interpretive?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is a very interesting query that is best served by fully understanding the options it poses.

What is an "interpretive" reading? The word "interpret" has two meanings, the first is to explain something, and the second is to understand the meaning of something. An interpretive reading, then, is one where you have taken in the material through the lens of your own experience and understanding. An interpretive reading is therefore colored by who you are, the life you've led, what you've read previously, etc.

What is an "accurate" reading? "Accurate" is defined as "correct in all details," and it indicates that you have understood something precisely as the author intended.

So whether or not reading is accurate or interpretive depends a great deal on the material you're reading. In the case of literature, however, I think it is safe to say that it is more interpretive than accurate. That's because art of any kind is not created in a void, and a writer understand that their readers are bringing their own personal experiences to the reading of their text.

This is why books move some people and not others, or why you like a piece of music that your friend might not, or why you are not as interested in a certain style of visual art in which others find great meaning. That's because art, including literature, is by necessity a collaboration with its audience. Literature, then, relies on the reader's interpretation. In fact, it cannot exist without it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial