Structuralism (1): Basic Concepts and Structuralist Narratology Structuralism: Outline 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Starting Questions Structuralism: Basic Concepts From New Criticism to Structuralism Major Theorists (1): Ferdinand de Saussure Structural Narratology: -- Claude Levis Strauss -- Vlarmir Propp 6. Practice: 箜篌引 & “The Long Enchantment” Starting Questions About our life: --When a person says “I love you,” what does it mean? -- Why do ads influence us so much? About literature: -- Is there common structure among some (types of ) literary work? What does the common structure suggest about our society? -- How do we use our linguistic knowledge on literary analysis? Starting Questions (2) More abstract questions: -- How is reality/nature and how do we get to know it? Just through experience? With or without mediation (媒介)? -- How are meanings or our ideas produced? By our mind? By a supernatural being? Or by language? Structuralism: Basic Concepts (1) Language and reality Does language/art work elevate/reflect reality, create reality, distort/hide reality or replace reality? Pay attention to the position of these two men. Durand, Asher Kindred Spirits 1849 Structuralism: Basic Concepts (1) Language and reality Who is created by whom? The Creation of Man (Fragment of the Sistine Chapel ceiling) 1511-12 Structuralism: Basic Concepts (1) Language and reality Are we living in our own fictions? Left: The Human Condition; Right: The Art of Living Structuralism: Basic Concepts (1) Language: Does language reflect reality, create reality, distort reality or replace reality? The Treachery of Images, by Rene Magritte, 1928/29 Or The Treachery of Languages? Structuralism: Basic Concepts(2) a. Against the mimetic theory of language (p. 88), Structuralists think that Language is not a transparent container of our ideas/meaning; we produce our ideas through language as a system of difference. b. Anti-Humanism: The author is dead. Literary works are not independent entities. c. Structuralism finds out the grammar of literary works. Structuralism: Basic Objects of Study Units: Example – phonemes Rules: How to combine into words words Select and combine into a sentence. Princess, prince and a stepmother combine into a fairy-tale. (Snow White and Cinderella are in structure the same story.) Structuralism: From Units & Rules to Basic Structure (langue) Langue or signifying system 表意系統: Examples: -- Literary work, -- narratives (e.g. myth) -- tribal or community ritual (a wedding, a rain dance, a graduation ceremony) -- "fashion“ (in clothes, food, cars, etc.) -- any kind of advertisement From New Criticism to Structuralism: Search for “the common” or the universal Form Structure: basic pattern an entity with interrelated parts. Pygmalion And Galatea, by Jean-Leon Gerome, after 1881 structural linguistics: Ferdinand de Saussure (textbook pp. 89-95) 1857-1913, Swiss linguist; one of the founders of modern linguistics. Major ideas: 1. The synchronic vs. the diachronic; langue vs. parole 2. Language is a system of difference. Meaning occurs in binary opposition between two signs. (e.g. toy, boy) 3. sign = signifier and signified; the connection between them is arbitrary. Language as a system of relation and difference Underlying our use of language is a system, a pattern of paired opposites, or binary oppositions.--or a system of differences relations: toy boy (sound), table (grammatical unit), girl (antonym), etc. difference: binary opposition I saw a girl in red. (e.g. 噹狗狗 and 狗噹噹) (syntagmatic relations) I am a girl. a boy, a dog, (paradigmatic an ironing board. relations) sign = signifier and signified Saussure: "The linguistic sign unites, not a thing and a name, but a concept and a sound-image. . . The two elements are intimately united, and each recalls the other.” signifier + signified referent triad: [roz] concept of rose the actual rose we refer to The inclusion of the concept within the triad of signification suggests that there is no natural sign = signifier and signified "The linguistic sign is arbitrary. It is unmotivated, i.e. arbitrary in that it actually has no natural connection with the signified." -- e.g. The signs “dog,” “chien,” “狗” arbitrarily refer to the concept of the animal dog. -- Can be replaced by other signs; -- Can create ambiguities. -- What about Onomatopoeia, 象形文字? Are there natural resemblances between the signs and what they refer to? （e.g. Cock-a-doodle-do, cocorico Claude Levi-Strauss 1. Kinship system: structures how things or people are “exchanged” within a culture. e.g. women in exchange for dowry. 2. We think in terms of binaries. (e.g. raw vs. cooked; good vs. bad) 3. Myth: basic units – mythemes, e.g. in Oedipus myth: overrelating and underrating of blood relations Structuralist narratology: Vladmir Propp syntax as the basic model: Suject + predicate = Actant + function Propp: for him there are 7 "spheres of action" (villain, hero, false hero, donor[provider], helper, dispatcher, princess [and her father]) and 31 functions. e.g. Cinderella and its modern versions: -- Villain: the stepmother, helper: fairy godmother. -- do we have fairy godmother as the helper today? Practice I: 樂 府 詩 箜篌引 「公無渡河，公竟渡河，墮河而 死，當奈公何?」 Binary opposition between 公 and 河；between the speaker and 公。 1.公 試著克服河 公被河克服。 2. 公：(男﹚人；河：自然 3. Speaker: 試著阻止公；奈何 公（自覺無力，或景仰公﹚。 Practice I: Variation (1): 「公無渡河，公竟渡河， 墮河而死，當奈公何?」據說，這 是漢代一對夫妻的悲慘境遇：一名 白首狂夫不理會妻子在岸邊呼喚， 逕自直奔 水中央而捨去性命，他 太太吟了這首詩以後，也投河自盡。 （source: 枯萎年代 ﹚ Mythemes (or themes): 梁祝， Liebestod (love death). Practice I: Variation (2):向陽的四句聯 叫你別看 偏偏還看 看了也好 免掉煩惱 Variation (3):公無渡河 ──詩誌 八掌溪事件 《李友煌》. The Long Enchantment 1993, 11 min 23 s Director Françoise Hartmann Synopsis Info Source: http://cmm.nfb.ca/E/titl einfo/index.epl?id=2922 9&recherche=simple&c oll=onf The Long Enchantment Abstract A little girl espies a wondrous pony under her window one charmed moonlit night. Is it all a dream? Flora is spirited back in time to an enchanted forest. Here, she witnesses the machinations of a wicked wizard who casts a spell on the pony. The courageous little girl eventually confronts the wizard and conquers the forces of evil that had been unleashed centuries before! Sure to delight young imaginations, The Long Enchantment is a spellbinding animated fairy tale, where "once upon a time" ends "happily ever after." The Long Enchantment: Analysis Basic units/actants: fairy-tale characters: king, princess, fairygodmother, wizard & his spell (“My spell would break if for your sake a friend would dare to eat a pear.”) orchard, wind-fallen fruit, pear, horse fairground pony The Long Enchantment: Analysis (2) Mytheme or functions: adventure, spellbound princess/pony, rescue, time travel (back and forth), double, interaction between the pony and Flora (pear tear). “The Long Enchantment” unlike “Little Red Ridinghood” neither the king nor the fairy godmother can help; no prince to rescue. The Long Enchantment: Analysis (3) To break the pony’s long enchantment, Flora can only rely on herself, as well as the Pony’s messages. Through the pony’s and Flora’s rescue of each other, we see interactions both magical and natural. Reference Structuralism and Saussure http://www.colorado.edu/English/ENGL2012Klages/saus sure.html Claude Levi-Strauss "The Structural Study of Myth" and Other Structuralist Ideas http://www.colorado.edu/English/engl2010mk/levistr auss.2001.htm Hawkes, Terence. Structuralism and Semiotics. U of California P, 1977.