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closure


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1. A satisfying sense of completion or completeness.

2. A defining feature of a narrative that resolves all of the issues in a ‘proper ending’. See narrative closure.

3. The processes by which a text is brought to a conclusion or structured to feel complete.

4. (structural closure) The extent to which a narrative form is linear, self-contained, and leads to a final resolution. Narrative forms characterized by closed structures are often perceived as having masculine connotations: see closed forms.

5. (ideological closure) the authorial strategies employed to constrain the interpretation of a text by its audiences. An illusion of completeness amounts to an attempt to prevent the reader from butting in (see also univocality). It suggests that ‘the matter is closed’—that the text is ‘finished’. Seamlessness and sequential structures reinforce an impression of the ground having been covered, of all the questions having been answered, of nothing important having been left out. Closure implies mastery of the material through its control of form. However, no text can say everything that could be said; there is no first or last word on any subject. Ideological closure can be aligned with structural closure. See also open and closed texts; preferred reading.

6. A property associated with the conservatism of classical realist texts which some modern literary narratives avoid, preferring anti-closure. See also open forms.

7. The reduction of a text by a reader to a single interpretation (a pejorative term in literary theory).

8. In gestalt psychology, a standardizing tendency in perception and recall to add that which would normally be there but was missing: e.g. in visual perception we routinely mentally fill in the gaps in broken outlines. See also gestalt laws.

9. In psychology, an individual trait reflecting aversion to uncertainty. See tolerance of ambiguity.

Subjects: Media Studies.


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