Controlled Reader Essay

1569 WordsNov 28, 20097 Pages
An author can only partially structure an experience in an attempt to elicit a desired response from the reader, for there are two types of readers an author must consider: the implied reader and the actual reader. The implied reader is “assumed and created by the work itself” whereas, the actual reader brings his/her own experiences to the text and thus each reader takes away a different message from a text (MacMannus, para 1). Du Bois's narrative, “A Mild Suggestion”, attempts to ensure a certain response, from the reader, by including a description of the passengers' reactions to the colored man's story, but to some degree, the effects on the reader vary depending on the experiences he or she brings to the text. However, without this…show more content…
Clearly, she has been bothered by his suggestion and resigns silently to her cabin. The mention of her silence is important, because it demonstrates that there is no one there with whom she is willing to share a reaction. The presentation of her as an isolated individual furthers the reader’s feeling of sympathy toward her and allows for women in her situation to identify with her felt isolation and ostracization. Du Bois finishes with her reaction, because it is the most powerful. Thus, the reaction of the Little Old Lady develops pathos in the reader and forces the reader to consider the deeper meaning of the colored man's story. The reader is also affected by the reaction of the Southerner and the Woman. Throughout, these two individuals are presented as unified and in the end the Southerner chooses the Woman. Specifically, the narrator states that these two were "heard to say something about fools" (94). Who exactly are the fools? Are the fools the Southerner and the Woman for having listened to the story? Are they the emancipationists who gave the colored man a voice? Or are the fools all emancipated colored men? The word "fool" is used in a plural sense and consequently leaves the reader to openly interpret its meaning. The effect on the audience is one of disassociation from the Southerner because the reader does not want to be lumped in with the
Open Document