"Is there a real text in this class"
Stanley Fish had my inner fish floundering for a pool to swim in after chewing through page after page of text difficult to digest. However, I'm led to believe Fish efficiently promoted this idea of "indeterminacy within clarity". Preconceived acceptance in meaning is the boa constructor that prompts reader-response fan-boys to submit to the jurisdiction of a noisy new critics army. Fish throws a red flag on the field by ripping apart the apparent but not easily recognized differences between "is there a real text in this class" and "is there a real text in the class". One relates to what a vast majority of people would assume (is there a definite book or set of books in the course). The other definition lays hidden a few floors above in the free thinking elevator (does a underlying theme or specific idea dominate what's being taught). Stanley Fish's notion on "institutional nesting" places emphasis on how commonplace categorization of sentence structure and wordplay eradicates room for open interpretation when it has a right to be heard "Nevertheless, there is a distinction to be made between the two that allows us to say that, in a limited sense, one is more normal than the other: for while each is perfectly normal in the context in which their literalness is immediately obvious as things stand now, one of these contexts is surely more available, and therefore more likely to be the perspective within which the utterance is heard, than the other" (308). Although I haven't seen a new critic and a reader-response critic debate, one of my theories as to why new critics would scoff at the the reader-response idealogy is due to the potential for infinite interpretation of speech to occur. However, justification for this apparent flaw is addressed "An infinite plurality of meanings would be a fear only if sentences existed in a state in which they were not already embedded, and had come into view as a function of, some situation or other" (307).
Failure to detect meaning isn't legitimate failure, as is described on page 311. The teacher paints a portrayal of what his student is trying to get across, but makes an error based off assumption rather than understanding. understanding was formulated, but rather, was directed towards a differing outlet of thought "It is the assumption rather than his performance within it that is challenged by the students correction. She tells him that he has mistaken her meaning, but this is not to say that he has made a mistake in combining her words and syntax into a meaningful unit; it is rather that the meaningful unit he imediatly discerns is a function of a mistaken identification of her intention" (311).
Viewers discretion is advised. inadvertently exposed skin has turned this post PG-13. Anywho, this doodle is my visual based off Stanley fish's essay. The first three panels show two blokes ready to execute a man. The words ready, aim, fire are stated. Once executioner 1 says fire, the other executioner says sure, and we are brought to a giant bonfire pow-wow. This signifies fluctuation in meaning based off reader-response theory. Below, Two creepy Cretans (one wearing a shirt that says "new critic" and the other, "objectivity") hoist up the imprisoned characters and bonfire in a cage. This is a representation of heavy new critic/ objective influence in how we go about our business as active readers.
Despite re-reads and misinterpretations, I enjoyed Fish's take on reader-response. While I don't think he's all for subjectivity, I feel there's more wiggle room for thinking outside the box as a reader than new critics impose.