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Frye and Barthes

Frye postulates a new theory of literary criticism and is of the view that literary criticism should have an orientation of science. He implies that criticism must not be considered a leisure-time activity and a scientific method should be evolved and used. He opines that hitherto literary criticism is based on assumption, emotional and mental inclination rather than on structured parameters of appraisal and evaluation. These structured standards are essential in order to weed out the meaningless.

He says in this regard that ‘our first step, therefore, is to recognize and get rid of meaningless criticism; that is talking about literature in a way that cannot help to build up a systematic structure of knowledge’. (p. 477) So he says that literary criticism can rely on patterns as it is done in physics. He further suggests that a critic must not only tie poet with his poetry and should utilize deductive methodology but he must be aware of certain other unconscious influences on the psychology and ideology of the poet.

Hence he will find certain myths and symbols that have been inherited through those influences. Frye further devises two ways i. e. inductive and deductive for literary criticism. Primarily, these two ways are a reflection of a particular thinking process about genre of literature. Inductive thinking seeks patters where deductive method looks for consequences. This thinking procedure can reflect itself in both platonic form as well as the assumption that prevailing social conditions produced the work.

Text lies at the center of all enquire and a close scrutiny of the text will enable the critic to get the right perspective. The process involved in the endorsement of this perspective is induction. Section III takes into account the deductive reasoning i. e. assessment and theory test of time and space and other paraphernalia. He further provides examples to support his ideas and arguments. Barthes does not restrict his methodology to a criticism only but explain the objective of structuralism as being to restructure rules to examine a given object of study.

He says in this regard that structuralism is “the controlled succession of a certain number of mental operations. ” (p. 489) It is a process of reconstruction in which object under examination is reconstructed in a way to establish parameters of the functionality of that object. He refers to this activity as simulacrum and defines it as “The simulacrum is intellect added to object. ” (p. 489)This activity of simulacrum engages two operations or goes through two stages to produce a result. Firstly, it is dissection i. e.

–“find[ing] in it [the simulacrum] certain mobile fragments whose differential situation engenders a certain meaning”(p. 490). Secondly, it is articulation—locating and maintaining for the units conceived and/or hypothesized by the above action “certain rules of association. ” (490) He provides excellent examples to support his prepositions. His narration style is simple and lucid as compared with Frye’s intricate language. He himself follows a pattern i. e. preposition, analysis, intellectual penetration, supportive arguments and conclusion.

But his conclusion are not forced conclusion like Frye’s. Although both writers has forwarded a new theory of criticism but Barthes theory is wide ranging and constructs its paradigm on the basis of processes. Frye theory is not a comprehensive one as he involves two many things on the theoretical horizon and does not make them complement each other in the practical domain. His argumentative style is not comprehensive and influencing as he utilizes uses inverse logic to arrive at his favourite conclusion.

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