The Power of Point of View

Positioning Readers with Perspective (Acts 13:4–12)

headshot_Aug2012_smby JAMES D. DVORAK   . . . One of my research interests as a discourse analyst is how language users–for this discussion, narrators–utilize the information plane both to express her or his own “stance(s)” and, as a consequence of that expression, to sway others to take up the same position. “Stance,” as used here, is about “bonding,” about creating community around a set or sets of shared values by means of investing attitude in activities and things (cf. Martin and White, Language of Evaluation, 211). Expressions of stance, although often projected without much calculated thought, are intended to generate a “sympathetic resonance” (an analogy from the physics of sound) among an intended audience, in which case the readers/hearers, because the stance “resonates with them,” align with or adopt the same stance the language user has expressed. Of course, attitudinal reverberations sometimes result in antipathy rather than sympathy or empathy, as when sound waves of different frequencies can “crash” into one another resulting in dissonance. In such cases a narrator’s stance may be rejected by the actual hearers/readers.

One way narrators utilize the information plane to position readers is by supplying bits of information about a character that may positively or negatively bias a reader’s evaluation of that character. Doing so typically creates in the mind of the implied reader(s) a certain expectation(s) regarding the character’s actions and motives as the scene unfolds. . . .

[This post originally appeared at “Dr. D’s Blog”; to read the post in its entirety, click HERE]


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