Language, Vernacular, Authorship, Meaning Making, and Profiling through a Single Narrative

After constructing my previous blog post that can be found here, a quote that Dr. McCoy provided me as feedback struck me. “It’s incredible a sentence is ever understood.” I started actively thinkING about this specific quote and began researching. I came across this as it perfectly pieced together what has been discussed in class so far in relation to language, vernacular, authorship, meaning making, and profiling through a single narrative.

An idea that parallels perfectly with my previous blog post is the following quote:

Bell Hooks explains about stereotypical roles that are given to African-American writers and for her postmodernism “challenges colonial imperialist paradigms of black identity which represent blackness one-dimensionally in ways that reinforce and sustain white supremacy” (1911: 11) Publishing market that forces African-American novelists to write the authentic African-American experience and promotes those reiterated, so-called true to life stories both hooks and Everett complain. 

The notion that Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler is about slavery is forcing the “stereotypical” label African-American writers hold when in reality, Butler was not referring to slavery. The meaning-making can easily be lost through translation as the role of authorship is lacking when a reader is misinterpreting.

Misinterpretation can be explained thoroughly through Barthes as he states, “Once the author is removed, the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing…when the Author has been found, the text is ‘explained’–victory to the critique.” There is a dangerous element present when the author is lost. A limit is present, which puts the reader at a disadvantage as they don’t have the agency to interpret. But at the same time, if a reader misinterprets the author’s original message, it can cause an imbalance. To a certain degree, the author loses their consent of their work because readers typically their words in whichever way they please, which can turn dangerous. The both/and is present and as many other students in class, I am still uncertain how much power is efficient enough for both an author and a reader to carry in order to find and/or create the perfect balance.

The tension between author and reader can come into play in even simple matters such as reading aloud and pronouncing vernacular the reader may not be too familiar with. Examples that come to mind are the readings of “A Cabin Tale” and “Lager Beer.” When focusing so closely to the pronunciations and deciphering the words themselves, the meaning of the texts can be lost easily. The vernacular can come off so complex that the original meaning of the author may not be transparent enough, putting the author’s interpretation at a disadvantage.

Language vernacular, authorship, meaning making, and profiling through a single narrative all play intertwining roles when deciphering a text.

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