Monday, March 5, 2012

00A #4 To Audience or Not to Audience

In "Closing my eyes as I speak: An Argument for Ignoring Audience," Peter Elbow advocates writing in "the desert island mode," in which the writer focuses on "individual, private reflection," rather than audience. Do you agree or disagree with this assertion? In what ways have you employed this developmental model in your own writing?

Every good writer who is composing written text that is indented for anyone but themselves always considers their audience, whether it's conscious or unconscious. if someone is not aware of their audience they risk miswriting their purpose. They risk missing the mark. Even for someone who believes they are writing despite audience awareness, they themselves are aware there is an audience and this is just as much a factor in what is produced. Audience is an ever looming cloud that writers cannot and should not escape. Elbow's "desert island mode" isolates the writer in a negative way. Since audience is a constant whether we want it to or not, it should be included in all teaching methods of writing.

In my own writing, audience is always a foremost idea in my mind. Exigence and audience go together. If you have a reason but are unable to facilitate this meaning to have other also gleam that there is a reason to the writing then the exigence goes away. Without a reason then there the meaning of the argument is moot.

I try to understand how my meaning corresponds or relates to the audience I am writing for. Or at the very least, how can I make connections that will draw the reader to a more positive outlook of what I am saying. It is just having the general awareness and not the removal of it that is the base key to audience. This is something I try to make the students I work with conscious of. That beyond just the teacher as the focus of written responses, there is a target audience they should be considering. Without this, by putting them on a "desert island" we risk losing vital argumentative contexts and critical aspects that they would otherwise consider if they were aware of the larger picture. With as much as I normally agree with Elbow this is one of the few times I would have to disagree with one of his pedagogical models.

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