The book roll shaped life for the Greeks and Romans. The book roll provided a way for people to create communities through reading. The book roll was just a medium for people to either separate themselves or bring people together. The book roll brought people together by their interpretation and knowledge of the words written on the book roll. Being able to comprehend what you read made you an elitist, and placed you above those who could not. An important aspect in the story is what to read means for the educated reader. William A. Johnson states, “To be a proper reader, one must not simply divide the words correctly and get the right pronunciation but one must, on the fly, be able to convey the full meaning through proper phrasing and modulation. Importantly, to do so requires (in the ancient view) detailed understanding of the text, which in turn means that one has already read the text” (pg. 110). This is important because the ability to read was a way to distinguish oneself. Having the ability to read is not important as much as having the comprehension of the text. In order to have comprehension of the text one needs to have read the text appropriately. You read the text appropriately by understanding punctuation and other grammar. Another important aspect is that reading is a way for people to create a community. William A. Johnson states “Repetitive and shared reading of texts of recommended value is, in short, a central activity. We see, then, that reading of literary texts is deeply embedded within a closed community, one trained to certain types of appreciation for certain types of texts. This exclusiveness of the reading community is, from our viewpoint, a marked feature of the ancient reader’s interaction with a text” (pg.111).People creates communities through reading by interacting with the text. In order to interact with the text one must treat the text like a person. In order to treat the text like a person you must spend time with the text. Spending time with the text allows you to understand the text, and dig beyond the surface. Through shared reading and ideas, this allows you to interpret the text better. This allows a community to be created because you and others share an appreciation of a certain text or several texts. Another important aspect of the story is that reading is a way that one can separate itself. William A. Johnson states, “Literary texts, in short, embody a sort of pleasure that only the educated can share” (113). In order to understand the pleasures of reading you must be educated to read. Having the ability to read can separate you from those who do not have the ability to read. I view this as one having the ability to be able to swim. Those who do not have the ability to swim cannot enjoy the skill. You can enjoy the waters, but you will never be able to go deep. This is the same in reading because you can enjoy hearing or a story or reading a story. However if you are not educated you cannot go deeper and beyond the surface of the writing. One aspect of the reading that I did not understand is on pg. 106 “It is not that the Greeks were ignorant of aids to reading, such as separation between words, punctuation, or the exposure of textual structure through headings and the like; rather, it was that they chose not to use them in their literary texts.” Did the Greeks not use punctuation because they wanted to confused readers? Did they want a more educated scholar to read there writings to understand them. Is there a bigger picture, or am I magnifying a minute detail? Another important aspect that I do not understand is pg.108, “The bookroll was, in short, an egregiously elite product, designed to signal a high-status, educated, cultured register.” Was the book roll more about keeping the lower class low? In the story he talks about education being able to comprehend the story by reading. If the higher class was the only ones to have book rolls was this more about education or hierarchy?
Question: The niche on technologies is that they are designed to make our lives easier and suppose to bring us closer together as society. However, I believe certain technologies are just like the book roll. They are designed to show socioeconomic status and upper echelon. Technology separates those who have it and those who don’t. Which creates a community with those that do have it. Does technology make us smarter and bring us closer together, or does technology draw us apart and make us focus on the material rather than knowledge?