عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the fundamental transformations in critical thinking and education during last 20 years has been the acceptance of the fact that all texts are inevitably mixed with ideology, and ideology does not have a separate meaning from text. This emphasizes the need for rigorous studies in these fields, particularly in children’s and young adults literature in which the relation between the children and the adult writers has always resulted in an unbalanced relation of power to the extent that the authors have always inculcated their perspectives in children and young adults. In recent decades, authors have attempted to reduce the pressure of ideology on the readers through some techniques. But what is important is that sometimes using such techniques has even intensified the ideological infiltration of the text. One of the approaches through which we can investigate the authors’ techniques, especially in the filed of narrative, is narrative discourse in which narrative factors, such as implicit author, narrator, characters, addressees and the implicit reader can be studied. In this paper, we aim to examine narrative factors in the novel Lullaby for a Dead Girl based on Bakhtinian concepts of polyphony and double-voiced discourse. We also try to find out if this novel moves towards the inculcation or the defeat of ideology.
Different ideologies present in texts have been examined by critics, especially in young adult and children’s literature whose artistic and educational aspects have been constantly debated. Ideology is not just what is seen in the theme and content of a work; it also exists in hidden layers of texts. Every single book has a kind of implicit ideology, which is a more powerful way to influence the audience.
The language, narration of the story as well as different aesthetic aspects of the text, can help to hide ideologies. Stephens believes in a special form of language that leads to instilling values and attitudes. He maintains that ideology is expressed in and through language, meanings are developed within the social context, and narration is also shaped by language. Thus, the narrative and aesthetic structures of the text can be examined within ideological frameworks.
Apart from the author, different narrative factors are involved in the process of the making of a text and can serve the goals and ideology of the implied author or express their independent voices. The presence of different voices in a text can bring about a plurality of meanings and eventually reduce the ideological pressure of the text. These various voices are not restricted to the voice of the characters within the text, but the independent voice of the narrative and phonetic factors can have a profound influence on the text’s polyphony, thus disrupting the center-oriented ideology of the text.
In this study, the authors have tried to examine the role of narrative factors in the formation of the text, the influence of ideology, and also the role of Bakhtian's theories in reducing the ideological pressures of the text through examining the novel Lullaby for a Dead Girl.
2. Theoretical Framework
In Ideology and Control in Children's Literature Murray Knowles and Kristen Malmkjaer have generalized these relations of domination to socially-organized ones such as those between men and women, those among people, and even those between children and adults. They consider adults to be superior because of their experiences, greater power, and access to the mass media. Adults, who are themselves controlled by other ideological relationships in their society, use various tools to convey their dominant ideas to children.
Language, ideology, and power, as major concepts in critical discourse analysis, are more prominent in the analysis of literary texts. Ronald Carter holds that the term literature cannot be defined apart from the term ideology; in the same way, the scientific study and description of language cannot be neutral and unbiased, since the sociocultural position of the analyst requires the description and analysis of texts to be accompanied by political factors.
Bakhtin also stresses the role of narrative factors in creating discourses in novels. The author, narrator, characters, and readers form the discourse of the novel in a dynamic interaction with each other and display their independent voices, thus creating polyphony in the novel and reducing the ideological pressure of the text. To Bakhtin, considering the audience as an active factor in the process of reading the text is essential for having a dynamic dialogue.
The methodology adopted in the present paper is descriptive-analytical.
In this novel, the argumentative discourse of narrators tries to affect the mental orientation of the audience. As none of the narrators has an independent voice different from the implied author, this novel can be considered a monophonic one. Similarly, the indirect characterization and the characters’ external point of view have reduced the empathic atmosphere of the story, as if the author has written the story only to convey his own message. Additionally, due to the narrator's direct reports and implied propositions by the author, the text has a closed atmosphere, and the gaps in the story, due to recurrent denouements, have only contributed to suspense in the novel. Different narrators are used to narrate the story; however, as already mentioned, since the narrators serve the goals of the implied author and have no independent voice, we cannot call the novel a polyphonic one. While there is centralism in this novel, as Bakhtin has noted, there is also an intermediate mode between polyphony and monophony, which can be considered the initial stage of polyphony. Heteroglossia or polytonality reflects the diversity of the characters' tones, but when the writer's authority still plays an important role in the story, the story remains heteroglossic and does not achieve polyphony.
Novels like Lullaby for a Dead Girl are at the beginning of their path towards moving beyond direct ideology transmission. While the author's footprints are still seen in such novels, the use of modern aesthetic techniques is a valuable step. However, it should be noted that these techniques should follow a specific goal, which is, as Bakhtin has pointed out, moving beyond centralism and breaking the ideology within the text.