Dialogism In Bakhtin's Polyphony

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polyphony refers to the multi-voicedness[ Bakhtin, M. M., and Michael Holquist. “Discourse in the Novel”. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: U of Texas, 1981. 265] and to the stratification of discourses in a narrative. Bakhtin’s theory considers that the meaning in a polyphonic novel is generated through the layering of the multiple perspectives of characters and thus through the juxtaposition of several ideologies and belief-systems unlike the ‘homophonic’ or monologic novel that delivers a narrative from a single point of view. Dialogism on the other hand consists of the functioning of polyphony. In other words, it means the interaction of the multiple voices and perspectives in a text and their mutual influence on one another.…show more content…
But no one dared confirm it with certainty. He may have been one of the dead who had seen the local authorities drive the boats back to the sea. Or a ghost whose duty it was to save us, so he could gain his own access to paradise. He may have been a schizophrenic Malaysian. Or maybe a tourist from a Club Med who wanted to break the monotony of his vacation (106). In fact, even though the book is rich in events that took place in the real life, the reader is seldom provided with any statements or affirmations at all in most of the stories the narrator shares. In contrast, he is facing a text that is not seeking any resolution or closure, but rather reclaims the dialogic nature of words that reunite a social and cultural aspect in a literary book. In this regard, Trinh T. Minh-ha says: My story, no doubt, is me, but it is also, no doubt, older than me. Younger than me, older than the humanized. Unmeasurable, uncontainable, so immense that it exceeds all attempts at humanizing. But humanizing we do, and also overdo, for the vision of a story that has no end – no end, no middle, no beginning; no start, no stop, no progression; neither backward nor forward, only a stream that flows into another stream, an open sea…show more content…
This plot is mainly composed of beginnings, middles and ends or what we can also refer to as exposition, rising action or development, climax and denouement. These elements, along with a great focus on characters and characterization, target temporality in order to maintain a chronological order of events that incorporate past retention, present prominence and future anticipation. Such texts are referred to, from Roland Barthes’ point of view, as readerly texts. In fact, in his essay “S/Z”, Barthes labels texts with definite and fixed meaning as readerly texts as they limit the role of the reader to the reception of the transmitted
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