Death-of-the-author

1-Read the follow key reading: Barthes, R. (1967). The Death of The Author. Aspen. 5-6

2- According to Barthes, we saw the emergence of the concept of “author” at the end of the middle ages as a result of a more rational way of thinking, and the change in the concept of ‘individualisation’ of people.

3- According to Barthes’ notion of literary criticism, any piece is seen as a reflection and creation of the author. It happens because we have an individualist point of view that makes people the centre of their creations, thoughts and acts. Therefore, when we contemplate a piece of work we see it as a consequence of an author feature, never as a piece itself without precedent. We always look for the origin and we find this inception in the author.

4- According to Barthes, the one who constructs the meaning of the text, ultimately, is the reader, by means of their interpretation.

5- I will illustrate this text by talking about an affair on twitter that caused a huge uproar in social media society. It was posted by Justine Sacco, the communication manager at IAC (Inter Active Corp) a couple of months ago. 

She was travelling to Cape Town, in South Africa, and shortly before she jumped on the plane she tweeted the following: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.”. By the time she had landed, having been on the plane for twelve hours, the text had already gone around the world and a big controversy was taking place.

Analysing this case, we can see clearly how the audience created the meaning and interpretation of the text instead of the author. When she wrote the text she wasn’t expecting it to have such a negative social impact and to cause such debate. It was probably, in her mind, a flippant remark meant as a joke (tasteless as it was). However, those who ultimately created the meaning of the text were the audience with their negative comments, disapproval and consequent spreading of the tweet.   

OWN VIEW ABOUT THE “DEATH-OF-THE-AUTHOR”

On the other hand, I can see a point that goes against “the death-of-the-author” idea the text describes. In the above instance, for example, the audience judged her as ‘the author’, to be the perpetrator of the crime. Giving her the author position and judging her for it.

Therefore, my reflection is that audiences recognise author and support that idea. This is to say that, if they are the creators of the meaning, author exists, in this world of individualist personality, now more than ever. And everyone, is, also now more than ever, the really owner of their words.

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