In Ways Of Reading, it talks about reading with and against the grain. It specifically explains what reading with the grain is but it does not go specifically into what it means to read against the grain, “To read generously, to work inside someone else’s system, to see your world in someone else’s terms-we call this ‘reading with the grain.’ It is a way of working with the writer’s ideas, in conjunction with someone else’s text.” It says this in a way that seems in my opinion to show that you can do one or the other and only one or the other. It in a way seems to show that you only reading in agreement with the author or in disagreement with the author, with the grain or against the grain, not both.
I think that this is not true. I believe that in many ways you can read proactively, by reading both with the grain and against the grain at the same time. You can do this in many ways. The way I do this is by being open minded and seeing the way the author sees it, finding out where they are coming from and listening to and understanding it from their point of view and seeing the points on which I agree with them but at the same time finding the things that where I don’t agree with the author and trying figure out why I don’t agree with them.
The way I read both with the grain and against the grain is not necessarily conforming to the beliefs of the author but by finding out and understanding where the author is coming from by researching the authors background or reading the author’s other works. I may also read other works on the same topic or related topic to get a grasp of why the author might hold these beliefs or see things from this view point. This helps me to put myself in the shoes of the author and understand them more by seeing how they could see a certain belief or view point could make sense and it helps me to see the way they are making sense of things and where they are getting their logic and the sources from which they are getting their information on a certain topic, while still holding to my own beliefs and opinions about a subject or a topic and still differing in my beliefs and agreeing to disagree with the view point and beliefs that the author happens to stick to and hold.
Sometimes I find that after reading something that has values, beliefs, and other things in it that I don’t agree with and trying to see it from the authors point of view I start to understand and agree with their point of view and start to believe what they believe as well. Other times I after reading something I don’t agree with and reading it in a way that I try understand their perspective but still stay believing in my perspective I can understand why an author believes something even if I still don’t believe what they believe and stay with my differing belief. There are even other times when I start to agree with the author on certain points but not other beliefs and values.
So yeah, reading with the grain, reading against the grain, in many ways both an “and” and an “or” thing. You can read with the grain or you can read against the grain or you can even read with and against the grain at the same time in many ways. Reading with and against the grain is a thing, you just have to understand where the author is coming from and put yourself in their shoes.