Textual analysis,by Catherine Belsey

11. Jun 2016

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Textual analysis,by Catherine Belsey

  1. Presented by AmnaTariq
  2.  “Methodology” implies more than simply the methods you intend to use to collect data.
  3.  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?
  4.  What features in a text do we look for when we want to analyse it in detail?  ‘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?
  5.  It discusses what the text says?  To whom it says?  Why it says so?  What EFFECT it creates?
  6. For Example look at this picture
  7. *
  8. A Rape
  9.  Tarquin raised dagger  His knee between the legs of Lucretius  His muscular dominance  White bedlinen draped over her thighs  Her nakedness  The bed point to the sexual nature of the assault  She is also shown as defenceless
  10.  Images of women  Nature of rape  Lucretia’s honor  Emphasis of power relation
  11.  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
  12.  People go for those known facts about things  But research is expected to explore something new out of the research  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
  13.  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 particular text.  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.
  14.  Research is expected to add something new to an academic field.  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 research.  It most likely expands on previous research, looking at something that may be missing or not fully explored
  15.  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
  16.  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 using?
  17.  Use your knowledge – whether academic, general or otherwise  be critical of our own knowledge as it may be rather subjective – although subjective knowledge can often be a positive thing  use instinct and then follow up these instincts with reading about them to find out if these instincts could be a possible reading
  18.  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?
  19.  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.
  20.  it may be more conducive to textual analysis to use secondary sources sparingly  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
  21.  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 sign.
  22.  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/
  23. Signified  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)
  24.  The ‘toilet’ would be the signified whilst the signs on the doors of the toilets would be the signifier (the sign for ‘men’s’ or ‘women’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 is arbitrary.
  25.  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
  26.  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 cultures do.  All languages, however, have a structure of sentences; the point at which we get from sentences to meaning is about genre.
  27.  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 anything.  ‘Artefacts’ can include literature, paintings, interviews (transcripts/notes/recordings), photos, and so on.
  28.  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).
  29.  textual analysis made at a particular historical moment and from within a specific culture  The analysis of any text remain incomplete in past and future  Because it always has something new
  30. Slide # 8
  31.  Evidently she’s on bed but  She’s wearing at least an earing  A pearl necklace  Two quite substantial bracelets  And a wedding ring
  32.  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
  33. Historical and Social Background
  34.  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 text  Inquire the relationship of culture to the text  Once you get the context of the text, its sets your mind while reading the text
  35.  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
  36.  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 of meanings)  The textual details may be over determined, may signify in more than one way
  37. Lucretia’s jewelry expresses her richness, thus it arises more questions
  38.  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 Romans
  39.  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
  40. 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.
  41.  Pose a new question and find the answer  Tarquin and Lucretia also have one element that does not fit the obvious narrative  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
  42.  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?
  43.  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.
  44.  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 other mortals  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
  45.  Rape or resistance?  Rape and consent under duress  Or a consent of the body which issues in adultery, not rape?
  46.  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?
  47.  A text is made up of multiple writings … entering into mutual relations  There cannot be final signified :no one true meaning can ever come to light  No definite truth is available - now or at any time.
  48.  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 undecidable.  There is literally no end to it. But there is a great deal of work to be done to explore all the possible avenues