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Reading Between the Lines of Reader Response: Constructing 'the Other' through the Aesthetic Stance

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In this article, the author challenges English teachers of literature to examine applications of reader response theory in teaching reading which posit that readers approach a text from two stances: 'aesthetic' (emotional) or 'efferent' (literal). The essay presents a case study of pre-service English teachers and adolescents' web-based discussions about a work of young adult fiction based on a transgendered character. The study highlights how the pre-service teachers' framing of questions about the book provoked the adolescents to adopt an aesthetic stance with the text that effectively 'othered' transgenderism, leaving potential opportunities for critical reflection and analysis of gender and sexuality unexamined.
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Keywords: pre-service English teachers; reader response theory; reading; transgender; young adult fiction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hunter College of The City University of New York, New York, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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