Stanley Fish on Interpretive Communities Give a thoughtful reading–including a careful rereading–to the excerpt in the file below. Does it consist of selections from Is There a Text in This Class? By Stanley Fish.
The reading is longer (~25 pages) and rather more complex. Give yourself plenty of time to read and digest it. You DO NOT have to write an essay. Instead, answer the following question in a few sentences each:
- How does Fish understand interpretation to be the result of expectations and assumptions produced by the communities of which we are a part? Use his theory to explain the reaction of his religious poetry class to the list of authors’ names left over on the board from a previous class.
- How is this process of interpretation transparent to us (this is, we don’t know we’re doing it)?
- What does Fish mean by his understanding that there is no “real” or “correct” interpretation inherent within a word, phrase, or poem? How does he justify or prove this assertion?
- According to Fish, does this process of constructed interpretation mean that any interpretation whatsoever (of a poem, for example) is possible and valid?
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