The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes Essay Questions
1. What are the three roles that Barthes describes in relation to the creation of meaning in texts?
According to Barthes, there are three roles that relate to the creation of meaning in texts. First, in order to understand the author-function characteristics, the author has to be eliminated. This is because the reason why the author is present is to close, to limit or to furnish the text (Barthes 147). Thus, the author has to be eliminated in order to give way to the birth of the reader. Second, the reader must separate the fictitious work from the author so as to free the text from interpretive autocracy. Third, the reader is given the responsibility to create the meaning of the text through capturing his/her feelings, passions, impressions and humor.
2. Rather than “to decipher,” What verb better describes the work of criticism?
A verb that better describes the work of criticism rather than “to decipher” is “to interpret”. This means that critics are allowed to interpret the texts in a way that they can understand.
3. What does Barthes say is “the only power” the Writer has?
Barthes (146) states that the only power the writer has is to mix writings in order to counter the ones that others have since he/she is the creator. However, once his/her temporal and theological characteristics are ripped off, the author becomes just a scriptor.
4. How is meaning created in a text?
According to Barthes, the real meaning of a text depends mainly on the reader’s impressions, rather than the tastes or passions of the author. Therefore, the meaning in a text is created by capturing the feelings, passions, impressions, and humor of the reader (Barthes 385). The reader or listener has more responsibility for the text than the author because his/her experiences and connotations are lost when they get to the reader. Barthes argues that all the quotations, which make up a text, are directed towards the reader who is the destination.
Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” Art and Interpretation: An Anthology of Readings in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Ed. Eric Dayton. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview. 1998. Print.