Does anyone else think that this Frye’s essay is a fairly perfect overview of some of the main points we have addressed in class so far? While reading through “Polemical Introduction” I couldn’t help but see how quite a few of Frye’s points in the essay relate directly to many of our class discussions.
Within the first few pages, Frye explains what happens when poetry directly addresses its audience. Authors of poetry usually make a point not to directly address or hand feed the audience. When this is done, the reader often feels offended, like the author had some sort of doubt about his mental abilities. The author has made his intentions too obvious by spelling things out for the reader. This exact tactic was utilized by Haneke in Funny Games and is what made the film not as powerful as it potentially could have been. Haneke doubted his audience’s ability to grasp his point, so he all too clearly laid his intentions and forced the audience to think the same way as him.
Frye soon then delves into the rules of literature; a topic that we have continually revisited in class. Like most of the class, Frye seems to think that rules for defining literature are necessary, but still formally undefined. Literature as a scientific process is discussed, very similarly to what we have addressed in class.
Finally, Frye writes about a point that Nabokov explained to us in “Good Readers and Good Writers.” Frye explains that casual readers often put themselves into the fiction that they are reading by bringing their own outside judgments and opinions into the literature, which ultimately takes away from the work. Readers all too frequently do not enter a work of literature with an objective, unassuming view, tainting their opinions of the work. This also happened with Rodger Ebert’s review of Blue Velvet. His outside values and judgments hindered him from making an unbiased review of Blue Velvet.
Reading this essay was a sneaky way for us to get a prefect review of everything we have discussed in class.