What Do You Think of the Assertion That the Meaning of a Text Is Fixed and Does Not Change over Time? Essay

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What do you think of the assertion that the meaning of a text is fixed and does not change over time? The meaning of a text is at once the theme that a text deals with and the message regarding that theme that it conveys to the reader. While some may hold that the meaning of a text never change from the moment an author finishes the work, I believe that meaning is very much open to interpretation and depends on what the reader focuses on. As such, a text’s meaning changes with the audience, which itself changes over time. One example of this is Maya Angelou’s autobiography I know why the caged bird sings, which was published in 1969, a time where racism still existed in the USA but was beginning to disappear, and deals with the hardships Maya, or Marguerite as she calls herself in the autobiography, faced while growing up in the USA in the 1930s to the 1940s. Another example is Brian Friel’s Making History, which was written in 1989, a period of fighting between the Irish Republican Army and British authorities in Ulster, a region of historical importance to Ireland, Friel’s country. The play is set in Ireland in the late 16th century and follows the Irish noble Hugh O’Neill as he attempts to free Ireland from English rule and controversially marries Mable, a New English woman. The themes of both texts can be interpreted differently based on which part of the work one focuses on. In the case of Making History, a historical perspective may look at the setting of war torn and chaotic Ireland and state and identify a theme about conflict and nationality. A more religious perspective may focus on the Reformation that affected the setting and see a theme of religious conflict. A psychological approach may examine the use of metaphor relating to history and assume that the text conveys the message that history is changed to look as interesting as possible. Similarly,

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