Barthes From Work To Text

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The concepts of text and work have been continuously distorted over the course of time. Both terms have been misinterpreted in a way that text has been replaced by work in common usage and social reforms. In reality, the two share more differences than similarities, which French literary critic and linguist Roland Gérard Barthes explains in his essay From Work to Text, from his book entitled Image-Music-Text. Barthes justifies the differences through propositions, in which he claims as ‘enunciations’ rather than argumentations. One of the propositions he discussed is method. According to Barthes, “The work can be held in the hand, the text is held in language”. This pertains to work as an object, which the text is not; it is more dynamic and fluid. The work can be displayed, seen, and held. On the other hand, the text is methodological in a sense that it is not portrayed in a concrete object. It exists in the “movement of discourse”. It is a composition whose meaning is taken by the reader from the work. For example, the notable Noli Me Tangere, written by Dr. Jose Rizal, is a Filipino classic. The work aspect of this novel is the fact that it is…show more content…
The meanings in work can either be literal or concealed. The work leans to a signified that belongs to the scope of the reader’s interpretation, rather than in arbitrariness. In general, it is comprehensive and functions as the sign itself. Text, at its best, is ‘radically symbolic’ and bears no closure. It is incomplete; its content may be misinterpreted with similar meanings. Edgar Allan Poe’s infamous The Bells, when perceived as work, refers to the actual words, phrases, and sentences it contains that will help the reader build an interpretation. When the reader switches his or her point of view in light of the text, he or she might be confused on identifying the meaning of the poem, even if it is supplemented with its dark, onomatopoeic
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