Question: How does the complexity of the reader affect interpreting literary characters?
Answer/Quote: “In the past, studies of complex perceivers have shown that they are more able than noncomplex perceivers to take social perspectives, to empathize, to account for multiple dimensions of people, to avoid stereotyping ,simplifying, or projecting their own idiosyncrasies into their perceptions of others. For years, it has been suggested that literature is the great educator, capable of expanding horizons and transporting readers to strange and distant places. The reading of literature, then, demands a flexibility, an openness, and a willingness to perceive strange people and novel events in all their multiplicity and dimensionality.” P. 390.
Comment: I’m not sure what this finding means. It can mean that teachers urge students to deal with complex characters in literature in an open-minded way. And that could lead to dealing with people in an open-minded way. That might be a stretch. RayS.
Title: “Interpersonal Cognitive Complexity and the Literary Response Processes of Adolescent Readers.” SD Hynds. Research in the Teaching of English (December 19985), 386-402,