One of Suzanne Keenâ€s (see attached file) hypothesis about the relation between empathy and reading is that an authorâ€s intention may not match with the readerâ€s actual response to the text.
Total word count at least 650
Toni Morrison in the preface to The Bluest Eye states the following: â€œOne problem was [that] centering the weight of the novelâ€s inquiry on so delicate and vulnerable a character [as Pecola] could smash her and lead readers into the comfort of pitying her rather than an interrogation of themselves for the smashing. My solution â€“ break the narrative into parts that had to be reassembled by the reader â€“ seemed to me a good idea, the execution of which doesnâ€t satisfy me now. Besides, it didnâ€t work; many readers remain touched but not movedâ€ (xii)
In your reading response, analyze Morrisonâ€s ideas in relation to your own reading experience:
What do you think is the difference between being â€œtouchedâ€ and â€œmovedâ€ that Morrison describes?
Do you agree that her formal experimentation did not work?
Why doesnâ€t Morrison want readers to pity Pecola â€“ what does she want us to do instead?
Did your own responses to the novel contradict what Morrison wanted us to feel and think?
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