Rykalski, W. (2011)
Characters are paper-beings and do not posses a 'psychology' but the do have asignificance and a function in the discourse that we must be alive too. We musttreat the characters of a text with a double-caution: we must not dismiss them asmerely textual and we must not elevate them out of the text. To do either is to failto consider what it is the characters are doing in our world, the world beyond thetext, what effect they have on us.
The Surface of Truth
We are trained into the acceptance of their being something behind, beyond orbelow the surface of things. We are actively schooled in the belief that the truth is'behind the curtain' not because this is the case but because it suits the form of ourculture (and thus the
structures of power in our society) for us to believe this.Barthes showed (in The Reality Effect and elsewhere - e.g.
LIVBehind, Beyond) that the realistic was an aspect of bourgeois ideology. That is tosay (following Benjamin) that the realistic is the expression in culture of bourgeoisdomination of society through their control of its resources. It is not the only suchexpression but its effect on what we take to be true is the most dramatic.
The Force of Meaning
Barthes was concerned with the role of power in narrative and meaning. In Hiswork there is an effort to force us to recognise the dependency of text on power inthe world."Thereby appears the nature of meaning: it is a force which attempts to subjugateother forces, other meanings, other languages. The force of meaning depends onits degree of systemization: the strongest
meaning is the one whose systemizationincludes a large number of elements, to the point where it appear to includeeverything noteworthy in the world..."
LXV The "Scene"This systemization of meaning (the epistem of Foucault?) is both the effect of anda mode of action of the system of power (of relations of power) in society findingtheir expression in culture in the text. From
LVI The Tree:"... for meaning is a force: to name is to subject, and the more generic thenomination, the stronger the subjection."Discourse is power (it is an action-upon-the-action-of-others) and that power canbe a violence. Discourse is the most projectional of all tools and thus is a weapon.It has both edges: of destruction and construction.
Irony, Meaning, Capital (S/Z XXI).
Section (element? It is difficult to know what to call the longer passages of writingamidst the 'starred text' of
) XXI of
is worthy of close attention (of re-reading as Barthes called for):