Now, let's move on to the second approach to meaning—that is, meaning is created by and contained in the text itself.
Does the meaning exist in the text?
Some scholars argue that the formal properties of the text like grammar, diction, uses of image and so on and so forth, contain and produce the meaning,
so that any educated or competent reader will inevitably come to more or less the same interpretation as any other.
As far as I am concerned, the meaning is not only to be found in the literary traditions and grammatical conventions of meaning
but also in the cultural codes which have been handed down from generation to generation.
So when we and other readers, including the author as well, are said to come up with similar interpretations,
that kind of agreement could be created by common traditions and conventions of usage, practice and interpretation.
In other words, we have some kind of shared bases for the same interpretation, but that does not mean that readers agree on the meaning all the time.
In different time periods, with different cultural perspectives, including class, belief and world view,
readers, I mean competent readers, can arrive at different interpretations of texts: So meaning in the text is determined by how readers see it.
It is not contained in the text in a fixed way.
Now, the third approach to meaning—that is, meaning is created by the reader.
Does the meaning then exist in the reader's response? In a sense, this is inescapable.
Meaning exists only in so far as it means to someone, and literary works are written in order to evoke sets of responses in the reader.
This leads us to consider three essential issues.
The first is—meaning is social— that is, language and conventions work only at shared meaning and our way of viewing the world can exist only as shared or sharable.
Similarly, when we read a text, we are participating in social or cultural meaning.
So a response to a piece of literary work is not merely an individual thing but is part of culture and history.