Indeterminacy in Dictee Assignment | Indeterminacy
The goal here is to connect the concept of literary indeterminacy with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee. Describe the way in which Cha addresses reader-response in her work, and the way in which she connects identity with story-telling in her work.
The three sources to use in this paper are ——
1. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s ‘Dictee’
2. Gerald Graff’s ‘Determinacy/indeterminacy’
3. ‘Embodying the In-Between: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s “Dictee”‘ by Hyo K. Kim
Some notes to keep in mind when writing:
I think I’m on board with most of what’s going on here. I mean, for one thing Cha is certainly interested in the dynamics of reader-response, and she makes a whole bunch of formal choices in Dictee connected to eliciting particular reactions from readers. For another, Dictee is deeply skeptical of the idea that there’s only one way to tell a story or to be a person; narrative, like identity, should not necessarily fit the parameters laid out by the dominant culture. And you’ve assembled what seems to me a useful critical archive. Having said that though, you’ll have to be way clearer in the final product about yr argument—both at the level of the whole and at the level of the sentence. Complex ideas (which these are) require both concrete examples and the clearest possible expression, and this prospectus isn’t quite there yet with either. You’ll also want to be careful about defining “reader”: it’s one thing to theorize the idea of the reader (as say Barthes does in “Death of the Author”) but quite another to posit that there’s actually is such a thing as a “reader’s response” to a text. There are as many ways of reading as there are people with the book in their hands, after all, and it’s important to acknowledge that complexity in an essay like this one.
Mobilize Graff’s “Determinacy/Indeterminacy” to think about the many forms of Cha’s novel: that’s definitely the kind of thing that’d make a strong final paper. If that’s the way you wanted to go, I’d encourage you especially to think not just about the forms that she finds valuable (visual image; poetry; translation) but also the forms that she critiques (history; bureaucratic document). That bad stuff gets included here too, and such repurposing seems like an important part of her revisionist method.