Sartre’s “Why Write?” and Miller’s “Narrative” Essay (Critical Writing)

The reader is extremely important for the writer because reading is the significant act in disclosing the generosity of the work, and the writer should understand for whom he writes because the reader is free in reading, and he is also responsible for the work and for the produced universe. From this perspective, in “Why Write?”, Jean-Paul Sartre recognizes the importance of the reader’s personality for the general act of writing, reading, disclosing the world. Sartre notes that “the one who writes recognizes … the freedom of his readers” (Sartre 67).

Thus, Sartre focuses on one of the most important questions for the writer in order to provide the contest for the ideas of generosity, essentialism, freedom, and justice. This question is “For whom does one write?” (Sartre 69). Concentrating on the role of the reader, Sartre receives the opportunity to discuss the complex process of writing as the act in which both the writer and reader are responsible for disclosing the aspects of the world.

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From this point, addressing the freedom of the reader, Sartre clearly states, “both of us bear the responsibility for the universe” as the world of writing (Sartre 66). Thus, the reader is responsible for the universe while referring to the idea of generosity. Disclosing the world, both the writer and reader should be not only free but also generous.

That is why, the reader and his freedom are the focus for the writer who often writes for the certain public. In this case, literature becomes not only the product of writing but also the product of relations between the writer and his audience because the written world can reveal itself clearly only within the context of the reader’s perception and vision.

People need narratives in the form of fiction and repetition of many stories in order to understand their place in the world, find the solution to the typical problems, and try the effective scenarios. In this case, narratives as the stories representing the occurred events and legends as the stories representing the classic scenarios are important to assist a person in coping with the concrete situation.

In the work “Narrative”, Hillis Miller states that narratives are important to stimulate the person’s typical activities such as role-playing and daydreaming. Thus, the “make-believe is a fundamental human activity” (Miller 68). Fiction as the type of literature stimulates persons to make up situations and solutions in order to adapt to the reality.

In order to find the place in the world, a person chooses to imitate the actions presented in narratives. Miller explains this practice while stating that “we need fictions in order to experiment with possible selves” (Miller 69). From this point, narratives can be discussed as safe places which can also present the plan of actions. Furthermore, legends and myths are more important in this context. People need the repetition of the same stories in order to add some sense to the world.

Legends and myths can provide the formula which works in the real world. In spite of the fact that plot elements cannot be identical every time, “etiological myths” are significant to provide the information on the mankind’s origins as well as effective scenarios (Miller 72). Such myths as the myth about Oedipus are important for the person because they provide the effective explanation to the things which cannot be discussed logically. As a result, the person receives the hints to solve issues which can be indicated as taboos or other controversial problems.

Works Cited

Miller, Hillis. “Narrative”. Critical Terms for Literary Study. Ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010. 67-79. Print.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. “What is Literature?” and Other Essays. New York, NY: Harvard University Press, 1988. Print.

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