RCL 11

As we talked in class, many people were discussing how the power of words to evoke one’s imagination is far superior to the power of an image. I simply disagree, and I think John hits on some key points in his blog post about this. Sure, if we are talking about the description of a certain character in a novel vs. the image of this character in a movie, it is clear that the movie leaves less room for interpretation at the surface. What I find the key to this argument to be is the distinction between interpretation and imagination. While books require the reader to form their own images of what a character or setting looks like, movies don’t allow the reader to form their own interpretation about that specific character or setting. This does not mean, however, it restricts the imagination of the reader/viewer. It simply changes the frame of imagination in the audience. By this I mean that while books require their readers to use imagination to form images, movies require viewers to use their imagination to form context of an image. Take the picture of the orc vs. a written description of the orc. The text obviously allows you to form a visual picture in your mind of what the orc looks like and acts like, which requires imagination. The picture of the orc makes people associate that image with other images in their life (as John described the image of the Devil) which in turns sparks the imagination of the viewer to make assumptions about the image. These assumptions can be about the character itself, yes, but images allow for a deeper imaginative quality. Images allow the viewer to use their own personal experience to form a backstory about the image, about its past and what happened before the image, and about its future and what happens after the image. Essentially the point I’m trying to make is that textual description is a bottom-up imaginative process. Many words are used to help a reader form images about the subject. While images are a top-down imaginative process in which a viewer takes an image and uses imagination to form the context and story behind the image. Both text and images require imagination to interpret, but one is not more powerful than the other.

Leave a Reply