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Parsing a writer’s personality or the mindset from a text
is, as said before, difficult and often an incomplete act because the text can
never in completely equal the explicit psyche of the author. In, “The Death of
an Author”, Roland Barthes suggests that “writing is the destruction of every
voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique
space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost,
starting with the very identity which wrote it.” When the text is in the
hands of the reader, the author is lost and “dead”, and in most ways
inaccessible to the text and it is the constructive act of the reader that
gains a sense of the author because “as soon as a fact is narrated…the author
enters into his own death, writing begins.” What Barthes implies is that in
order for a reader – who constructs their own perspective about the text – to
even exist, the author must be completely absent. And in doing so, the author
is dead: “the birth of the reader must be at the death of the Author.” It is
only through the death of the author can a reader come alive: and thereby
reflect on themselves and use literature as a self-reflexive means of
communication. Once can further counterargue, that even if literature is used
to fulfil certain social needs: given a choice between an actual human and a
work of literature, a person would offer a more realistic and holistic social
satisfaction because the text is inanimate object whereas a person can respond.
Similarly, every text is consumed differently by every person and the benefit
of a social interaction gained from the said text is circumstantial. Therefore,
one can argue that the actual worth of literature lies in its freedom of
meaning and the fact that the reader can frame their own experiences through
it.

 

 

Literature is also primarily used for as means of acquiring,
maintaining, or disseminating power, whether for instilling social virtues,
effecting change in a political or moral system, asserting the authority of
public figures, or as an economic resource. It is used to exert control and
effect change on individual, societal, or structural behaviours, acting as ideological persuasion to influence society.
Simply put it’s a source of knowledge and is a means of effecting political,
economic or social change within society through rhetoric or social status. The
manner of reading and the perspective can influence one’s approach to relating
to society. The incredible importance and influence of bestseller books highlight the role played by literature in
determining who holds power in all aspects be it social or political. However,
it is important to observe that this influence is rarely consistent because it
relies on literature being a part of the culture for those who hold the power
and hence, as described before emphasizes little on the text itself but the
status of those who control the change most frequently the authors.  Furthermore, literature by itself is hardly
capable of persuading and changing ideology as texts often give many, even
contradictory outlooks simultaneously. The role of literature or the novel to
be more precise, in promoting social revolution is quite paradoxical. Usually, literature both persuades and
questions its ideology. The problem with the idea that literature seeks to
instigate change by presenting a better reality is negated by the simple fact
that most literature does not present a perfect society or one in any way
better than one in which we live.Most great works of literature are read in
schools and universities because the readers choose to focus on the reputation
of a text and the status and authority of the author and the text rather than
the ideological content. So even if the function of literature (also its value)
are the various power relations then this function is fulfilled more in
intention rather than actuality because literature itself is not ideological.It
relies more on the taste of the consumer to relay power. 

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