In this presentation, we would be discussing textual analysis as a research tool
What textual analysis actually is ?
How important it is?
How is it done?
And what difference does it make?
How this method can be employed to analyse texts in detail?
What features in a text do we look for when we want to analyse it in
‘Interpretation always involves extra-textual knowledge.’ What does
Belsey mean by this?
How would you (as a reader) characterize your relation to Belsey’s text?
It discusses what the text says?
To whom it says?
Why it says so?
What EFFECT it creates?
Tarquin raised dagger
His knee between the legs of Lucretius
His muscular dominance
White bedlinen draped over her thighs
The bed point to the sexual nature of the assault
She is also shown as defenceless
Images of women
Nature of rape
Emphasis of power relation
Invites us to imagine what might have happened next?
Its duration of the horror
Although the picture is motionless but one’s mind can easily
think of the future act
People go for those known facts about things
But research is expected to explore something new out of the
Involve assembling ideas that have not been put forward or
brought in the same way as they have been earlier
Make difference to the topic whatever that topic might be
The first impulse of many researchers when they come across
something unfamiliar is to look it up on the internet or in
another book, in the library, in bibliographies, from
recommendations from other people and so on.
It may all be useful if it leads to further textual analysis of that
However, Belsey (2005) explains that we must not take other
people’s word for it, and must consider their contribution
carefully, with the pros and cons of each contribution.
Research is expected to add something new to an academic
Expected to be original or to expand on another piece of
research, to be independent.
However, despite this originality, it does not mean that
research has be completely and totally different from other
It most likely expands on previous research, looking at
something that may be missing or not fully explored
You need not to agree with others but develop your own
critical view point
Read the text yourself and develop the Questions
Use secondary sources according to your own will
Take consideration of the related matter
must think about debating their own first impressions in order
to think about other multiple meanings
What is going ‘on’ in the text/picture/film/transcript or
whatever media you are analysing?
think literally and then expand on this to think about things
that may be hidden or not as obvious
Who is the intended reader/viewer/listener?
What effect is the author looking for – can this be discerned
from whether they are using first/second/third person (in a
text or sound recording) or from what techniques they are
Use your knowledge – whether academic, general or
be critical of our own knowledge as it may be rather
subjective – although subjective knowledge can often be a
use instinct and then follow up these instincts with reading
about them to find out if these instincts could be a possible
How does the text present the characters or subjects of the piece?
Where are our sympathies invited to lie?
What does writer aim to point toward in his text?
What is the purpose of ‘I’ in his text?
Writings/paints/text are for the reader and viewer
There is always a room for your own perception
We can derive any meaning we want to (as we did with the
painting of Lucretia andTarquin)
The perception of reader can be different from the writer
The critic is to play a superior role.
it may be more conducive to textual analysis to use secondary
when analyzing a text, a researcher is trying to find something
new or different, other people’s sources may hinder rather
than help this
Researchers and text analyzers need to come to their own
conclusions, first and foremost.
write hypotheses/questions and try to answer them yourself
before looking at secondary readings
Language is made up of signs and every sign has two sides (like a
coin or a sheet of paper, both sides of which are inseparable
Saussure's understanding of sign is called the two-side model of
The signifier the "shape" of a word, its phonic component, i.e.
the sequence of graphemes (letters), e.g., <"c">-<"a">-<"t">,
or phonemes (speech sounds), e.g. /kæt/
the signified the idea, the concept or object that
appears in our minds when we hear or read the
signifier e.g. a small domesticated feline (The
signified is not to be confused with the "referent".
The former is a "mental concept", the latter the
"actual object" in the world)
The ‘toilet’ would be the signified whilst the signs on the
doors of the toilets would be the signifier (the sign for ‘men’s’
We all understand these signs and there are a number of ways
to signify something, which therefore means that the
relationship between the signifier and the signified
what is important is what underlies language and vocabularies
language is a signs system in which the sign is made up of the
signifier and what is signified
This theory is important because it underpins the idea of
textual analysis, indeed, any analysis
If a sign did not have an underlying meaning, there would be
no need to analyze something to find what underlies it
Developed this theory by viewing language as a sign system
through inclusion and exclusion.
In some cultures you do not use words in the way that other
All languages, however, have a structure of sentences; the
point at which we get from sentences to meaning is about
Text is anything that you can read and it is possible to read
any sign system (such as film, text or art).
A text means nothing to you if you are not familiar with the
medium in some way – for example, someone who has never
played music before will find that a music scale will not mean
‘Artefacts’ can include literature, paintings, interviews
(transcripts/notes/recordings), photos, and so on.
All these artefacts are sign-systems that we can interpret.
They can also tell you a lot about a culture, in the way that
they employ signs (for example, the sign for men's/women’s
toilets are different in other cultures).
textual analysis made at a particular
historical moment and from within a specific
The analysis of any text remain incomplete in
past and future
Because it always has something new
Evidently she’s on bed but
She’s wearing at least an earing
A pearl necklace
Two quite substantial bracelets
And a wedding ring
Always look for minute details in the text
Firstly it signifies the body is decorated and adorned as an
object of gaze
Secondly the jewels indicate her wealth
The bedlinen is also very fine and translucent
Edge of the pillow is also embroidered
Looped curtains also show the propriety and taste
Textual analysis always poses questions
And since the purpose of cultural criticism is to understand
the texts- or rather, to read the culture in the texts- or in the
other words the inscription of culture, the appropriation in the
Inquire the relationship of culture to the text
Once you get the context of the text, its sets your mind while
reading the text
Tarquin is fully dressed
His clothes are rich and coloured
Oil painting highlights the folds of the fabric
Presents a contrast with the nakedness of Lucretia’s pale, half spine body
Shows tarquin’s dominance and vulnerability of Lucretia
Painting doesn’t confine only to sexual politics or state politics
But contributes to its meanings and the contest it depicts is only between
a man and a woman, but also between a class and its oppressor (plurality
The textual details may be over determined, may signify in more than one
It’s a formal method
To answer the Question of the text is the task of a researcher
Historical background is needed to understand the text and appreciate it
The painting also invites us to look it from the perspective of history of
We can see a slave in the picture to
What implication does it have here?
Infront ofTarquin there is a defenseless woman
And behind him there is a slave who has no control over his body
Belsey suggested in each instance:
Address a question posed by the text
Where are its sympathies?
What historical differences does it present?
In other words we start from a problem.
Pose a new question and find the answer
Tarquin and Lucretia also have one element that does not fit the obvious
The angle of Lucretia’s left arm does not put any force
Is this angle a mistake? Or done deleberatly
The researcher has to find the answer to the following Qs
We might see Lucretia’s bend of elbow as indicating another turning point
The gesture of her hand on his chest is of caress
Could the transition in the question be from resistance to pleasure?
And is it a capture of a moment in the struggle?
The City of God is a book of Christian philosophy written
in Latin by Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th century.
The book was in response to allegations that Christianity
brought about the decline of Rome and is considered one of
Augustine's most important works
The City of God is a cornerstone ofWestern thought,
expounding on many profound questions of theology, such as
the suffering of the righteous, the existence of evil, the
conflict between free will and divine omniscience, and the
doctrine of original sin.
The disobedience of ours to our sexual organ was a proper
punishment for the disobedience of Adam and Eve
Augustine was not at all convinced that Lucretia was chaste,
and was able to escape the effects of this sexual reflex than
And if she was innocent then why did she commit suicide?
Perhaps undecidability goes to the heart of the painting’s
appeal as it offers an enigma to the viewers
Rape or resistance?
Rape and consent under duress
Or a consent of the body which issues in adultery, not rape?
It could be whatTitan had in his mind
But we believe his account to be exhaustive, if the painting itself
seemed to give many options
If meaning is not at the disposal of the individual, can the artist ever
have the last word?
A text is made up of multiple writings … entering into mutual
There cannot be final signified :no one true meaning can ever
come to light
No definite truth is available - now or at any time.
meaning is not anchored in any thing outside signification
itself; and signifying process supplants it. All can be sure of, in
other words, is the signifier, and this cannot be tied to any
unique reading-to-end-all readings.
On the contrary the meaning are always ultimate
There is literally no end to it. But there is a great deal of work
to be done to explore all the possible avenues