Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction - Chapter 4, Language, Meaning and Interpretation Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 4, Language, Meaning and Interpretation Summary and Analysis

Questions about the nature and role of language in literature and how to analyze it continue to linger. The effect that language sparks the reader's own imagination and creativity is part of its meaning. How do the words stir the reader? How does the reader relate his own life/world to the words? What are the obscure meanings of the words—the subliminal message? Language is a system of differences according to Ferdinand de Saussure, renowned Swiss linguist. The elements of language are distinguished by their contrast to its other elements. A "chair" is not a "dog." The reader can visualize what a chair is. Words are based on the conventions and practices of a culture.

Most theorists argue that language provides a way to express one's thoughts. Some linguists feel that...

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This section contains 664 words
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Buy the Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction Study Guide
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