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1.3 (Berger and Fish) - Bryant 1 Justin Bryant 12 March...

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Bryant 1 Justin Bryant 12 March 2007 English 131 Q 1.3: Bringing Fish to Berger The study of how we think and interpret often results in interesting conclusions. Two individuals, John Berger and Stanley Fish, have produced separate insightful looks into what they believe produces our personal interpretations. Berger is an art historian who analyzed specifically how people look at art while Fish was focused on how a group of experiences, called interpretive communities, affect the way a person understands everything around them. While Stanley Fish is profound in his breakdown of how one interprets all around them, Fish’s concept of interpretive communities can be expanded upon and complemented by John Berger’s explanation of how surroundings affect ones interpretations and how those interpretations can lead to what he calls mystification. Personal opinions are ultimately affected by the atmosphere in which they are told. These opinions end up disorienting what they were interpreting by adding layers of analyses. When applied to interpretive communities these two ideas give a broader interpretation beyond what Fish writes to explore the entire picture of how interpretations are made and what the effects of these interpretations can be. Stanley Fish’s lecture “How to Recognize a Poem When You See One” claims that an individual’s interpretation of anything is a result of the compilation of their personal experiences, learnt behaviors and cultural background. The combination of these three factors lead to an individual’s interpretive communities. The interpretive communities one belongs to are responsible for why someone can analyze a literary text and come to a totally different conclusion then someone else who has also reviewed it. The reason for this is, as Fish eloquently explains, “interpretation is not the art of construing but the art of constructing.
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Bryant 2 Interpreters do not decode poems; they make them.”
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