QUESTION TEXT: Literary critic: The meaning of a literary…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Interpretations of a literary work tell us more about the critic than the author.
REASONING: There is no single valid interpretation of any work. Interpretation involves imposing meaning rather than discovering meaning in the work.
ANALYSIS: The wrong answers are particularly weak on this question, but they disguise themselves in language that sounds plausible. Remember the conclusion: a review tells us about the critic. Only B addresses this point.
The argument assumes that we can learn about critics from their reviews. If we can’t interpret authors’ writing, then why can we interpret critics’ writing?
- The argument implies that there is a way to distinguish the validity of an interpretation. It says “there are a number of equally valid” interpretations. That implies that some interpretations are less valid.
- CORRECT. If meaning doesn’t reflect anything about the interpreter then it isn’t clear how interpretations tell us anything about the critics.
- This isn’t necessary. The argument already says that intentions aren’t necessary to an interpretation
- Similar to C: this doesn’t matter. The argument said that it isn’t necessary to consider an author’s intentions.
- This doesn’t tell us whether critical reviews tend to tell us more about critics or authors.
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