COMENTARIO DE TEXTOS LITERARIOS POST-COLONIALES (SIGLO XX)
Método de Análisis Literario Antropológico
El método de análisis literario antropológico es un método interdisciplinar que trata de desentrañar del texto, considerado objeto cultural, las claves culturales.
En la aproximación al texto lo que se pretende es la construcción de un modelo de interpretación de los aspectos sociales, culturales, religiosos y humanos de la forma más completa posible partiendo del estudio de textos literarios de uno o varios autores elegidos como representación de una realidad determinada, sería pues, una teoría concreta que pretende aproximarse al texto literario de una manera lo más comprensiva posible a través del análisis textual interdisciplinar. Para ello va a considerarla como un paradigma cultural y al mismo tiempo va a cuestionar el estatus canónico de algunos textos considerados hasta ahora como fundamentales y básicos para comprender una determinada cultura.
Como aproximación tiene un triple foco de interés. Por una parte, semiótico, en el sentido de que se trata de desvelar o descubrir el signo cultural del texto (la comunicación cultural); por otra parte, histórico, porque todo texto literario está enmarcado dentro de un determinado contexto histórico y cultural; y por último, literario, porque nos hace ver el texto literario como producto de la literariedad de un determinado autor (las cualidades estéticas de un autor como representante de una cultura determinada).
¿Cómo nos aproximamos desde un punto de vista antropológico al texto? Esta aproximación se basaría en el análisis y en la observación de los grupos humanos considerados en su particularidad (el texto). Por otra parte, se busca construir modelos de vida de un determinado grupo: primero describiéndolos, y luego interpretándolos y reconstruyéndolos.
El crítico antropológico, al adoptar esta perspectiva se va a erigir de algún modo en antropólogo cultural, que a partir del texto literario tomará los datos recurrentes que se observen abstrayéndolos y clasificándolos para establecer de alguna forma la generalidad (el contexto) que conforma.
[Partimos del texto --- Abstraemos datos --- Interpretamos ---Reconstruimos]
Vamos a tener en cuenta al hacer el análisis un elemento contrastivo que no sólo se da en las áreas, sino también en cada situación concreta representada en el texto, y que se basa en un choque, un enfrentamiento de culturas opuestas. Y en último término, se da una fusión de dos culturas: la colonial y la colonizada. De forma que, como antropólogos, vamos a hacer un “trabajo de campo”, esto es, previo al análisis textual tenemos que informarnos directamente sobre lo que vamos a estudiar utilizando como informantes a los miembros de una determinada comunidad. Nuestro trabajo, según nuestro método, consistirá en recopilar información (biográfica y contextual), sobre el autor del texto que se va a analizar con el fin de utilizar toda esa información para desvelar las claves estilísticas, simbólicas e ideológicas que se esconden en el texto y así profundizar en el contexto cultural donde emerge la obra a estudiar.
Este enfoque establece 3 niveles de abstracción: lingüístico y paralingüístico, simbólico e ideológico. Se trata de un proceso gradual que va de lo más objetivo al máximo nivel de abstracción.
This term comes from Anthropology, the anthropologist works directly within the context, he wants to research directly with the members of that community who play the role of informants. This research is what we know as the “field work”. Before the textual analysis in itself we have to compile information about the author of the text. This information, the data that we observe would help us in unveiling (interpreting) the stylistic, symbolic & ideological plus of the text, and also this would help us in studying in depth the cultural context of the text. So we have 2 things to deal with:
a) Literary & Cultural Context; and
b) Author: Biography and Literary Background
Ritual Level: it is divided into verbal ritual & non verbal ritual.
a) Verbal Ritual: at lexical level what we are going to study is how we study the language.
a.1.1) Vocabulary Usage:
- To research whether or not there's repetition of vocabulary (grammatical & lexical), would lead us to interpret about the emphasis on a particular person, situation, idea…
- Conscience (intuitive usage of voices): here we have to observe whether the author uses traditional usage of language or not, syntactic divisions that sometimes attracted the attention of the reader. ¿Hace el autor un uso consciente o intuitivo del lenguaje? ¿Se atiene a la lengua inglesa o utiliza compuestos anglo-x? ¿Se desvía de la norma (para llamar la atención sobre el lector)?
- Main words in the text; we observe those words that are used more frequently in the text and this would lead us to the aim of the text (didactic? scientific?). ¿Cuáles son las palabras principales del texto? ¿Cuáles se usan con mayor frecuencia? ¿Cuál es el fin del texto?
- The size of words, the length. If we observe that the use of lexical words, which are meant to be longer (n, v, adj. & adv.), predominates this would denote that the text is objective. The use of grammatical words is more linked to subjectivity. Is the text homogeneous, symmetric? If we have an equal of short and long words the text is symmetric; long& short alternate give us a broken impression in the text, a contrast. Longitud de palabras: a mayor longitud (categorías léxicas) mayor subjetividad; a menor longitud (contenido gramatical) mayor objetividad. La simetría puede ser de dos tipos: 1) homogeneidad, ó, 2) ruptura en la narración.
a.1.2) Semantics of Vocabulary
- We have to identify negative, positive & neutral words. What we attempt is to analyze somehow the emotional links of words within the text, implications of vocabulary. We can find in the text certain emotional words such as love, death. On the contrary, the neutral use of words implies a more frequent use of none grammatical words.
- Type of vocabulary, semantic fields: we have to group words according to semantic fields that would lead us to find symbols of the text. The types of vocabulary vary depending on the period of the author.
- Another thing is whether we observe Latin routed words (long words), against Anglo-Saxon routed vocabulary, generally when we observe a prolificacy long routed this is linked to the idea of that is a more cult discourse.
- Polisemic & monosemic: we have to take into account if the words that we observe have one or more meanings. In this last case, it's important to distinguish between grammatical and lexical words. When we find a high number of monosemic words, we are in a not ambiguous text. When we find polisemic words, we talk about an ambiguous text.
- Synonymic & Synonymic relationships: this device is linked with the idea of diversity of vocabulary. If there's a synonymic chain, this means that words will be related according to semantic characteristics.
a.2) Grammar: Syntaxes & morphology. Analytical tools:
- Parts of speech: you have to analyze certain combination of words: noun + preposition (scientific style), verb + conjunction (narrative style), nouns opposed to non-nouns, verbs <-> non-verbs; nouns <-> verbs (more or less); noun + adjective, verb + adjective. If there're more nouns, we talk about a narration based on pure categories. If we observe more verbs, we talk about a narration based on actions. If there're no adjectives (or very few) this is a realistic narrative. The noun used as pure category doesn't tell us about categories of things, it judges directly. We don't learn about feelings but about intellect. An objective text would be the one in which there're nouns without adjectives. If we observe an abundance of neutral pronouns, this is also linked to objectivity. Subjective texts are linked to personal pronouns. If there are impersonal constructions or passive it's an academic style. Noun + preposition is called scientific style because names are placed by prepositions. Verb + conjunction is narrative style because actions are linked, reality is described.
- Modal tools: the use of modal verbs, conditional tenses, exclamation, interrogative or affirmative structures. The use of modal tools means everything is uncertain. There's a conditional reference that focuses on the future. If we observe a great number of modal tools, nothing's absolutely clear, there's an expression of desire implied in the narration. If modal tools aren't used, it means everything is clear, defined, no ambiguity.
- Study of sentences: if in the text there're closed sentences or open sentences (stop/ no stop). Sentences can be made by one word or by an indeterminate number, so there're short & long sentences. There're also classical sentences (capital letter + full stop) or non-classical sentences, with unexpected elements.
- We also have to observe the use of mixed tenses. It can be: homogeneous, or can be clash in the narrative (mixed tenses).
- We also have to observe the use of italics in monologues, stream of consciousness… Everything we consider strange is to strike the attention of the reader. If we observe the sudden use of parenthesis, this can be a direct communication with the reader through the text.
What we have to do is to define the power and the linguistic pattern that the author uses to express his ideas. We search for the effects of style, the use of linguistic patterns… the stylistic features of the text. The stylistic features can be observed through verb tenses, plot, parts of speech, title and rime (if poetics). In general, what we observe in this level is the progression of these devices in the text, being dramatic, narrative nucleus. They're the minimum significant units in the text. The analyses of a text at this level may be based on a structure that is repeated internally and causes an internal constancy that takes place in the text. So we have to observe things like questions, conditions, dramatics, final surprise…
- Verb tenses. This would lead to the plot. If tenses are contradicting, the author aims for a dramatization of the text. If we observe homogeneous tenses, we can talk about a symmetric text, as opposed to a non-symmetric text (asymmetric).
- Use of rhetorical forms. We've to search for the use of metaphor, metonymic… These are used in order to achieve a greater effect since the narration is broken. We've a variation in the used of words.
- Plot in itself. We've to observe the repetition of words. We've to look for the main words. Semantic fields.
- Title. To what extend do we find in the text associations with the title? The title can be artistic (suggests somehow, without saying) or a more direct title (informs straight forwards about the text). In general, most of the titles will be artistic.
- Aim of the text. Is it didactic? Does it express feelings? (objective/subjective). We can also talk about descriptive texts. It's necessary to mention the stream of consciousness. Subjective: related to adjectives & personal pronouns. Objective: related to nouns & verbs.
b) Non Verbal Ritual
b.1) Sensitive Systems: they refer to the sensitive world. We've been analysing the most objective aspects of the text, but in general it tells us more if we go beyond the objective aspects.
b.1.1) Physical or External Realism: to observe the external features of characters within the textual environment.
b.1.2) Psychological or Internal Realism: the conscientious search of the particular characteristics of each character, taking into account their inner perceptions, which would complement the physical realism.
These two types of realism (external & internal) are related to visual, acoustic, kinetic… in brief: the world as perceived through the senses.
b.1.3) Individualising Realism: this helps us to distinguish the characters with their physical & psychological features, taking into account their reactions in front of the environment and other characters.
b.1.4) Interactive Realism: this is based on conversational exchanges, on dialogs.
b.1.5) Distorting Realism: Is it a distorted reality? Is it a caricature? We've to identify metaphors, magic realism …
b.1.6) Historical or Documentary Realism: to search for the most systematic aspects of the setting as presented in the text. To find a system of signs based on the kinesis of the scene. To talk about the specific forms that are inherent to a particular situation presented through the text.
b.2) Intelligible Systems: the basic concepts will be TIME and SPACE. That is, the synchronic and the diachronic perspectives of the text. The fusion of both would give us the socio-cultural elements that are revealed in relationships among characters, which would be placed in a particular time & space. From time & space culturemes (culturemas) arise, they are minimum units of cultural meaning that would lead us to the symbols in a process of abstraction. Each author & each text display particular culturemes & all together form the plot in which certain images or recurrent topics can become symbols. The synchronic perspective (space) of the text is very useful because it helps us to describe a certain period of a culture. As regards the diachronic perspective (time) we analyse the evolution of clothing, furniture, the environment in general that varies along the history of a particular culture.
Symbolic Level: the abstraction of all the data observed in the ritual level would lead us to the symbolic level. At this stage we also have a number of analytical devises that would help us in our interpretation of the text, in finding out the most significant symbols, the way they can be associated, relate to one another, and trying to build up different systems & setting up the basis for the third level of analyses, the ideological one. It's also important to consider the following equivalents: communication, equals, culture, taking into account that culture is understood as communication strictly human in which several systems would operate. In this sense, we distinct direct systems (somatic, acoustic, graphic) or indirect systems, such us animals or objects. Each author entrances several peculiarities upon characters that subsequently communicate in the world of fiction through the characteristics that are also valid for real life, such us biographical, geographical, psychological, social-economic & cultural aspects. Through them we (the readers) are informed not only about the creative aspects of the author but also his/her culture itself. Therefore, in analysing those factors we are capable of finding the implicit or explicit clues that precisely are revealed through characters. At this stage we would analyse the somatic, kinetic, paralinguistic aspects through interaction of the characters within itself, their cultural environment and also the architecture & the objects.
Contextual system of the character:
1) Relationships between characters
2) Natural environment
3) Built or artificial environment
4) The object
a) Psycho-somatic System: what we try to set up here is the biological and psychological characteristics of the characters together with the socio-economic & cultural factors. Atendiendo a las características físicas y psicológicas de los personajes de una obra, vemos cómo las mismas fluyen de forma paralela al resto de factores condicionantes de su comportamiento: socioeconómicos y culturales sobre todo. Es, en suma, un recuento de personalidades y peculiaridades individuales reflejadas contra un fondo a menudo colectivo y anónimo. El análisis del sistema somático vendrá indicado por el conjunto de rasgos biofísicos y psicológicos de los personajes.
b) Kinetic System: we observe that the gestual world, the sounds, the sights, the tastes, the smells, the temperature, the movements and sounds are basic human dimensions. We are also informed about the evolution in houses, furniture, clothing…, age, gender, habits,… which have social, cultural & religion consequences that must be analyzed.
c) Paralinguistic System: the conversations and exchanges is what we analyze here. The ritualistic patterns, protocol, folklore, the artistic social behaviours that inform us about a particular context, culture, in a synchronic and diachronic way. The paralinguistic analyses reach clues to determine the aspects of a determine culture and relationship among the different cultures. Therefore, it's very important to take into account the attitudes and opinions of characters in the text, if they agree with the environment, the tone, the register, the use… how things are said.
d) Contextual System: this are based on external signs, relationships among human beings & animals, what is domestic and wild in a particular context, in social, politic economic & religious aspects. Nutrition is an important cultural aspect, prohibited drinks, foods… Peculiar clothes (the `sari', the `burka', the jewels…), morals, social behaviour, flora and fauna, the object world (for example: utilizar palillos para comer), spaces, cities, agriculture…
At this stage we observe the explicit & implicit reality of characters & their actions, what would lead us to the last level of analyses: the ideological level, the world of ideas.
World of Ideas
At this stage we would explain, contextualizing, the views of the world as reflected in the text which, subsequently, are a reflection of the idiolect of the author. We would organize from an ideological perspective the empiric & symbolic data observed in the text in the previous stages. This level is based upon the symbolic systems that had been identified. The study of them is based on the conception of a culture as process of compiling in which we build up a hierarchy of values and perceptive & conceptual possibilities. We consider the text as a cultural, social & political artefact, a private, public entity & we unveiled all these components that make it up as a cultural object. We have started from the most objective, sometimes irrelevant aspects, in a gradual process of abstraction & interpretation we somehow globalize all the data compiled in the different levels of analyses. [Símil de la jarra griega]
El texto va a contener en sí mismo elementos formales y culturales, datos que van a tomar forma una vez analizados gradualmente.
The literary text is an object of study which in turn is an individual expression of an author as a cultural representative. El autor se nos erige en representante cultural mediante un determinado texto. Al mismo tiempo es representativo de una sociedad.
The text is a semantic cultural object which includes a collective discourse. In the text, then, we are going to find what we call the ideologims: minimal units of ideological meaning, for instance, in the cultural level of society if we were moving in the context of India we would find that the author mentions the `castas'. In this process there are several processes to take to account:
1) The choice of a representative community that in the post-colonial context can be: Indo-Anglia, Nigerian, Australian, Caribbean, Canadian.
2) Diachronic study: historical, cultural & literary antecedents as well as the biographical data of the author.
3) Synchronic study: social, cultural & literary events of the context, the different subcultures that may appear through different authors.
4) Classification of sensitive & intelligible systems according to the personal & scientific strategy of each author. This would be done analyzing precisely the cultural levels which in turn are constituted by different ideologimes.
Religion: gods & myths, believes, feasts, religious rituals.
Society: social structure (1), social relationships & roles (2), evolution of both (1 & 2), social protocol and etiquettes.
Political attitudes & ideologies: colonization, metropolis & colony relation (-> contextualization), pre-independence (in relation with the previous), independence, post-independence.
Folklore and art: popular sayings (expresiones populares), cult & popular culture, popular beliefs, popular celebrations, music.
Space and time: proxemic perspective, cronemic perspective (-> synchronic and diachronic perspective).
Moments of life: seasons, famine & well off periods, routines, habits, hobbies.
Ecology: animal world, fauna & flora, landscape (natural/built), relationship between humans and nature.
We search for these ideologies in general in conversations & descriptions, once we have identified the natural systems of a certain culture & we would realize the relations & interactions that would be the reflection of a culture in which they take place and even we could draw a possible cultural model of a particular context. Al final de la interpretación del texto vamos a tener conocimiento de los aspectos culturales que quiso transmitir el autor, el conjunto de todos ellos presentarán un determinado contexto post-colonial. From different authors & from different periods we can draw the possible cultural picture by gathering together all the conceptual worlds. In such way we may succeed in reflecting somehow the history & ideas of a culture that would be the post-colonial period of English speaking countries.