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Do We Write the Text We Read by Reed Way Dasenbrock

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Reed Way Dasenbrock’s Do We Write the Text We Read? focuses on how the reader’s thoughts about a novel originate with pre-existing theories and how those theories can be altered and revised as the text permits. Dasenbrock argues that through this passing theory, readers develop a sense of value for the literary work and can progress their own learning capabilities. Dasenbrock utilizes other theorists to make this point, specifically Stanley Fish who postulates that individuals read texts differently because they interpret differently. He explains that interpretations of the reader are created through their beliefs and furthermore, that because people have such different interpretations, they are able to bring many different concepts to a community of readers. That community is built by the common assumptions of the members of the community. Dasenbrock adds to this theory by mentioning the importance of the dynamic evolution of texts that happen across time. Fish, as Dasenbrock points out, states that the certain interpretations we hold are of the only truth we should accept and that all other sources, due to their difference, register as false. He disproves Fish’s argument by bringing forth the idea that to say another individual’s beliefs are different than our own is to say that we understand their beliefs completely. He suggests that, moreover, we can imply similar things by saying different words. There exists many differing ways to observe, to interpret, and to
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