READ and WATCH: Intro to Critical Theory, Freud, and Psychoanalysis


Introduction: How who we are Affects how we Read

Have you ever read a book, or watched a movie, and later discussed it with a friend that interpreted it completely differently than you did? Of course you have! Each individual comes to a text with a unique set of biases, life experiences, and expertise that make the interpretation of a text slightly, or sometimes monumentally different from others reading the same words on the page. We can think of our own set of experiences as a lens through which we view the world.

Think, for example, of how a history buff would read "A Tale of Two Cities." She might zoom in on the accounts of battles from the French Revolution, check dates, and compare the fictional accounts in the novel to nonfiction sources. An architect would love descriptions of the Chateau d' Marquis, while a hopeless romantic might instead get teary-eyed for the unrequited love of Sydney Carton for Lucie Mannette.