notion of "positioned" in reader positioning is metaphorical,
describing the positioning as the shaping of a reader's
point of view or perspective. Reader positioning describes
how readers' thoughts and feelings may be shaped by :
Writers shape their texts using a range of techniques designed to
encourage readers to endorse their (the writers) ideas, values
and attitudes, and engage sympathetically and unsympathetically
with the characters and action of their stories.
Readers may also be positioned in their understanding of any
text as a result of their own context, and any knowledge of the context
of the text and of the writer.
The readers own circumstances and background influence how they make
meaning (how it positions them in certain ways). In addition, what
the reader knows about the circumstances of the the time in which the
text is set and of the author will also influence and position the
reader in relation to the ideas etc of that text.
Techniques used by writers to position readers.
are positioned to respond to a writer's
|to endorse or support the writer's
a wide range of techniques which include :
• point of view
• writer's style
• narrative structure;
• construction of setting.
|to sympathise with / be antagonistic towards them
|to engage with / keep on reading / be
The syllabus states :
“The emphasis of this study will not be on content but on attitudes
and values, structure and styles.” Do not lose sight of the fact
that you need to understand the course concepts before discussing textual
READERS WILL BE POSITIONED IN RELATION TO :
PLOT (that is the action or what happens).
Will we become engaged, grabbed, held, suspended? Will we question,
accept, be required to predict, be given hints, required to think for
ourselves? What will our responses be to the events and action?
CHARACTERS are constructed using a
range of techniques encouraging readers to find them sympathetic, believeable,
identifiable or otherwise, thus endorsing or challenging the attitudes
these characters possess and the values they stand for;
USED BY WRITERS TO POSITION READERS
IDEAS (themes, issues) put forward
by the writer through the characters and the action will manipulate
and shape the reader’s perceptions, positioning readers to respond
in certain ways, agreeing with or disputing the ideas arising from
the text. In essence, this is the most significant, generally
the larger purpose behind the writer creating the story.
- Dialogue - specifically how the characters talk and interact;
- Figurative and evocative language (includes
imagery); also called descriptive language;
Foreshadowing - providing a
hint of what is to come;
Irony - the contrast or disjunction
between appearance (the way things seem) and reality (the way things
Juxtaposition, that is putting
one thing next to the other for reasons of comparison or contrast ;
Mood / atmosphere, that is the
feeling attached to or associated with a scene or a situation
Narrative structure – the
narrative may be structured chronologically (linear), be circular,
fragmented, have parallel narratives, contain flashbacks, start in
the middle of the action (in media res), involve dreams, multiple viewpoints
(ie different people tell the same story in per chapter) etc.
Point of view - that is the
author’s choice of point/s of view from which the events are
seen. Main points of view to consider are
first person- major or minor;
third person objective;
third person limited omniscient;
third person omniscient.
Style (see also figurative and
evocative language etc above) Style involves the totality of how the
writer uses language
– word choice, sentence and paragraphs structure etc to
engage the reader in characters, settings and action;
– something which stands for or represents something else.
Symbolism works through cultural coding, where certain meanings become
commonly associated with certain thing. Author’s use of symbols
can position readers’ by means of this association of meaning.