Reading Lenses

I think that this is an interesting assignment, since I have never thought about my reading process. I think that we all just do it naturally without realizing. A way in which the author describes something, the word usage, the direction are indicators of what lenses to use. When I am taking in a reading a few of the things that let’s say will make me think of feminism are a female character who desires freedom or independence or “a room of her own”; a female expressing her self and her individuality; a female character who is facing adversary or discrimination for how she is or looks or for being a woman; or a suggestion to a woman’s role or appearance. Some of the literary genres are easier to identity than others since they are heavy handed in their indications. For example when I read Gothic, I know that I am reading Gothic because there are great excesses like a room filled with mirrors, an allusion to a trangression, and often times a story line that entails a woman living in solitude or a man exploring a forgotten ruin. One of the key elements of Gothic are obscurity and shadows. Gothic is not only a genre but a lens as well; you can read a detective novel that has a scene with a character going down to a dark basement that leads to labyrinth. Comparing literature is another lens used without realizing. Let’s say while reading a narrator monologing exposition I think of Dostoevsky. The indicators for this lens are exposition and a general feeling of seclusion and sadness. I use my psychological or surrealist lens when I am reading about a character’s state of mind or about a dream. Personal experience is the first lens we use as readers, when we pick out aspects of how the reading applies to our personal selves and lives.


One thought on “Reading Lenses

  1. Hi MM,
    This is an interesting assignment because I think we all read through certain lenses or from certain perspectives without realizing that our lenses and perspectives are different from those of others. I agree with you that we all read through personal lenses first. Once we process what we read from a personal perspective we then continue our thought processes to cover other lenses. You mention comparisons and I think that is also a lens we may use without being conscious of it. Those of us who read a wide variety of books have huge libraries in our minds. Once we have stocked those libraries, we automatically make connections between books, styles, and other authors as you say you do when you read monologues and make connections with Dostoyevsky. Thanks for posting this interesting exploration of lenses.

    ~ Naptharoe

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