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Thursday, April 29, 2010

PUSH Against Theory

Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, in the first part of their argument in "Against Theory," question E.D. Hirsch's theory about what defines a text. It is questioned as to why Hirsch separates meaning and intended meaning when trying to define what is projected to an audience by a text,especially if meaning and intention are the same. When reading this, I thought of the contrast between the novel "Push" by Sapphire and the movie "Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire." I remember reading the book and realizing that one of the most predominant male characters was one that didn't exist in the actual plot: Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan was the basis to which Precious, the novel's central character, ran her life and made most of her moral decisions and judgements. Farrakhan is mentioned throughout the entire novel quite often, but when the movie was made, there is no mention of Farrakhan at all. This forced me to think in the minds of Hirsch as opposed to Knapp and Michaels, wondering if the intention of the author and the textual meaning of "Push" were the same. If they were indeed different as Hirsch suggests, I would think that Sapphire, the book's author, would be upset that her critique of Precious's reliance of Farrakhan is completely ignored in the movie. This would imply that the director, who is essentially the most important audience member, and the author perceived the text's meaning as different things, eventually opposing the author's intentions.

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