Please select one of the following questions for your essay. For clarity sake, be sure to let your reader know from the beginning what question you have chosen, your understanding of the concept it involves, and the text, character, etc. you will use in your precise, close application of theory to literary text. Each essay should have a minimum of 5 direct quotes from the Semiotics text; also, please have direct quotes from the primary (literary) text.
Select one of the following passages and apply it to a brief but specific and rigorous analysis of either The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, or Winters Bone. In your discussion, explain your understanding of the given terms or concepts. For example, what does Barthes mean by his codes, or what are the primary and secondary processes?
Passage 1: Barthes: Ideological imperatives express themselves through a multiplicity of codes which invade the text in the form of key signifiers. Each of these signifiers represents a digression outside of the text to an established body of knowledge which it connotes; each one functions as an abbreviated version of the entire system (code) of which it is a part (31). Codes contribute to plurality of meaning in texts and can express the dominant values of a given historical period or culture.
What are the codes that invade the text youve chosen and how do they present ideological imperatives? Further, how do these codes add up to a presentation of the texts/cultures dominant values? How do they contribute to meaning in the text?
Passage 2: Freud stresses that neither the primary nor the secondary process is alone capable of signification; it is only through their collaboration that discourse occurs, and that the subject is constituted (81).
How do primary processes and secondary processes factor into the text you have selected and how does their collaboration constitute the particular subject. That is, one might argue that Finnys and Lepers primary processes hold more sway over them than their secondary. So what role does the secondary play? Could one argue that Gene represents Finnys secondary process and Lepers experience in the military his?
Passage 3: Since the preconscious subject is entirely organized through language, and since language functions as an agency for repressing and hence for structuring the unconscious, subjectivity can only be understood through the operations of signification. Moreover, since all signifying formations are produced though the collaboration of the primary and secondary processes, signification is equally inconceivable apart from subjectivity (85).
Signification, in other words, is the result of the collaborations of the primary and secondary processes, and I think we can agree that in the characters we have discussed, that one process has the potential to gain dominance over the other--at some point, at least.
Provide one or more examples from either text of the operations of the primary and secondary processes collaborating to constitute the subject. Explain how your examples specifically create, constitute, or shape the subject youve chosen.
Benveniste: Discourse is a signifying transaction between two persons, one of whom addresses the other, and in the process defines him or herself (48). How does Holden, Gene, or Ree define him/herself via particular conversations? If, as Pierce claims, Man is a product of language, how does Holdens/Gene/Rees language (and perhaps other characters language, such as Ackleys, Stradlaters, Finnys, Teardropss, Gails, Baskins, Thump Miltons, etc.) serve to create him/them as a character/person: My language is the sum total of myself; for the man is the thought (18).
Pierce defines a symbol as something that has a completely arbitrary connection to what it represents and these symbols vary from culture to culture. For example, Allies baseball glove, Holdens leather gloves, and Jessups boxing gloves all become symbols of something larger in our understanding of the text. Similarly, each serves as a representative of a particular culture and cultural code. Provide a close analysis of the semiotics of each glove symbol and how each serves to represent the code of its particular culture. If you wish to examine a different symbol, but one that appears in two or more texts, feel free to.
Essays, poems, novels, and plays, which depend upon the linguistic order for their articulation, dramatize the way in which desire constantly disrupts that order, resulting on the one hand in clusters of highly privileged and emotionally resonant signifiers, and on the other hand in the tug of a narrative which promises eventual closure (85).
We will discuss this more in class, but for the moment, know that linguistic order relates to the influence of the secondary process in the mandate for organization and lucidity, and that this order and stability must negotiate with privileged and emotionally resonant signifiers in the text, which are a result of Desire rooted in the primary process. For example, a disruptive signifier in Catcher would be Allies glove, and Holdens emotional (primary process) response to it serves to disrupt the narrative and perhaps obviate or abrogate closure (two good words we should all know). These signifiers can be located in textual icons, indices, and symbols.
So, using the passage above, explore how highly privileged and emotionally resonant signifiers serve to create desire in the text and to complicate our expectation of closure in the text.
Question 3: Symbolism in Catcher in the Rye
Understanding language requires a lot of continuous research into the different angles of literature. Literature itself is a journey into understating the content and seeing what others cannot understand from the text. Both figurative and literal meaning bring life into a book. For this reason, symbolism is at the core of understanding literature. Despite being used to add aesthetics to text, symbolisms is used to convey messages to the reader. Catcher in The Rye is a novel published in 1951 by J.D. Salinger. The book was initially published for adults but has been adapted by teenagers due to its theme of alienation and love. The author uses symbolism to highlight issues that the society is facing. The use of gloves in The Catcher in the Rye is something most readers overlook. A glove protects, gives warmth and provides safety. It possesses many dif