Reader-Response Criticism of James Joyce’s Eveline from Dubliners

2399 Words10 Pages
A Subjective Reader-Response Criticism of James Joyce’s Eveline The subjectivity evident in literary interpretation is hard to deny. Though one person may feel that James Joyce’s writing proves Joyce’s support of the feminist movement, another may believe that Joyce views women as inferior. What could account for such a difference in opinions? Schwarz explains that subjective reader-response critics would respond to a question such as this by answering that each reader uses the literary work to symbolize his or her own life and, therefore, each response is unique to the individual reader. He asserts that the reader will always find an identity theme in the particular text he or she is reading. Consequently,…show more content…
Readers respond to “literature in terms of their own lifestyles,” which have “grown through time” and is also any new experience the individual brings with them, including the experience of literature (Holland 973). Therefore, when people reread stories, they may interpret them differently from when they originally read these stories. The changing interpretation that time and new experiences bring was evident to me after rereading “Eveline” a year after my original reading. In both readings, I found that because of my own desire to symbolize my life through “Eveline,” I emphasized specific images and concepts in the story that most closely correlate with my own life and feelings. However, in reading the story a year later, my original interpretation of the story was altered due to new experiences in my life. Though in both readings I found as the theme of “Eveline” my own psychological need to overcome the paralysis of fear and obligation and take a chance for a more satisfying way of life, the causes of paralysis and obligation were different. For both readings, the first image presented by Joyce that truly caught my attention was that of Eveline leaning against the window curtains, smelling the dusty cretonne and looking out upon a quiet avenue that had
Open Document