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Bartholomae and Petrosky

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Bartholomae and Petrosky

Gaining Title Over Complex Material

Bartholomae and Petrosky in the introduction to "Ways of Reading," illustrate the correlations a reader has with the information that is being conceived. This means one should be guided by his own impressions as they read, without asking for other opinions as confirmation. The reader should belittle the idea of seeking "experts" to resolve the issue of what the essay really meant. "Is not what it means to the experts but what it means to you as a reader willing to take the chance to construct a reading. You can be the authority,,,,you dont have to turn to others (B&P p.8)." In other words, form your own ideas and explanations, what does it mean to you. Perhaps this can relate to Percy when he talks about "experts", and the "complex man." These concepts could apply to the reader that Bartholomae and Petrosky are describing. The "complex man" is someone who can look past the "experts" and form a path of his own, expressing his own opinions. "In a sense, he exploits his fellow tourists; he stands on their shoulders to see the canyon (Percy p.567)." This applies to the strong readers who "do not need experts to explain these stories and essays (B&P p.9)." Like the tourist who does not need the given tour to realize the beauty of the canyon, he sees it himself.

Lets get back to Percy's concept of "experts", which relates to those whose knowledge helps validate common folks, and how it corresponds to the paradox in the introduction. The paradox is the struggle one has with a reading because it is oppressive and doesn't know how to go about reading it. This idea of "experts" states that one needs a higher authority to validate something as authentic, real or true. So a student who is uncertain about a text, can receive someone elses opinion to help understand. "What they want from him is not ethnological explanations; all they want is his approval (Percy p.570)." This can apply to the reader who needs "approval" on a difficult text. But why do we need such certification? Do we not trust our own beliefs? Instead, one should read by contsructing ideas and values from themselves without the opinions of other beings. This is how one regains "title" over complex material. By knowing your limits and abilities, by taking command of the essay, while understanding its complexity. "To take command of complex material,,,,you need not subordinate yourself to experts; you can assume the authority to provide such a reading on your own (B&P p10)." This claims its ok to be uncertain, but again, know your limits. It may take you three or four times of reading the piece to fully grasp the idea, but have confidence in yourself to do it on your on. Sure you can go to an "expert" and use what they had to say as your explanation, but then the essay is taking command over you instead.

To gain control over complex material one might follow a process called "reading with and against the grain" which is introduced by Bartholomae and Petrosky (p.10). This type of reading requires a different style of thought and a more difficult, detailed analysis of the text. To "read with the grain" is to comply with the authors beliefs, see it through their piont of view, take control of the text. While "reading against the grain" is to be judgemental of the authors work, to ask questions and dispute their arguments. But will this ...

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Keywords: bartulis, bartholinus

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