The death of the author is, in my opinion, an extremely troubling idea. For those who don’t know, the death of the author is a postmodern idea that the opinions and vision of an artistic creator should hold no bearing on one’s judgement of the meaning. Essentially, when analyzing a work, the author’s opinion is no more valid than what you come up with in your mind. Now, I vehemently oppose postmodernism and everything it stands for, but to give credit where credit is due, it is possible for events in a story to have new relevance for different circumstances. However, the idea is frightening to me at the very least.
Though writers oftentimes write for fun or money, we also write to communicate. We often write to express our deepest opinions and passions to the world, with the intent of delivering a message. Even when this isn’t true, we typically have a vision of what the story is and what it should mean. With the death of the author, however, that vision, that message, everything we intended to communicate, is lost. For me at least, the idea that a reader could take my painstakingly constructed message, a meaning into which I poured my heart and soul, and ignore it for something contrary, is worrisome to say the least. And to think that that reader’s interpretation would be considered just as valid makes me sick to my stomach.
Now, again, the author’s vision isn’t everything. One should still feel free to think of a work as they please. However, in my humble opinion, the author cannot, and must not, be ignored in favor of this personal interpretation.