Literary Studies – Poststructuralism – 2011

Why are gaps and absences so important when reading a text? 

Gaps and silences allow the reader to engage and participate with the writing: Wolfgang Iser states, “it is only through inevitable omissions that a story can gain its dynamism” (The Implied Reader).  The author is able to position the reader to interpret their context of the story by the absence of information and silences in the writing. Readers can decode the signs and apply their reality and impressions to fill in the background information: the author must rely on the reader’s cultural knowledge to connect the information that is provided. 

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