AN EXAMINATION OF THE JUDGMENT THROUGH THE READER-RESPONSE AND RECEPTION THEORY

Abstract

Author(s): Zafer SAFAK

The Reader-Response and Reception Theory, which is the extension and outcome of the perennial hermeneutic readings, provides a dialogical relationship between reader and the text as opposed to the former strict and interpretative disciplines. The theory, which is founded and represented by such figures as Hans Robert Jauss and Wolfgang Iser, argues that in the texts there are unmarked or unfilled spaces left intentionally or unintentionally that requires reader’s active participation in the construction of meaning. Franz Kafka’s The Judgment challenges readers’ understanding the work as it includes numerous unmarked areas which force its readers into an interpretative vortex. While in its surface level, Kafka’s work narrates the story of a man, who writes and informs his friend about his future plans and tells nothing about the source of the latent tension between father and the son and ultimate suicide of the protagonist as a result of his father’s condemnation, the reading of the work in the light of The Reader-Response and Reception Theory fills and clarifies the unfilled spaces. The objective of this study is to read The Judgment through The ReaderResponse and Reception Theory and interpret it in terms of psychological urges, social variables and theological orientations.

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