Structuralism And Reality In Wrestling Essay

1226 words - 5 pages

When discussing structuralism, I find that it takes a realistic viewpoint of how the world is represented, as we essentially are awash in concepts and signs via the structures of communication and language. In this week's readings I found more depth to the ideas behind structuralism that my previous exposures, especially when looking to Roland Barthes' "The World of Wrestling" from his collection Mythologies. "The World of Wrestling" provided ample insight into how the structuralist idea of difference plays into deriving meaning (or meanings) from literature in innumerable ways, especially in how the reception of specific mythemes and signifiers evoke structurally conditioned responses from the public.
One of the most important concepts in structuralism lies within the idea of how meaning is derived, and discovering that depth or inner structure of creating meaning transcends the power of an individual text. However, this does not mean that the parole (or individual utterance; Tyson 213) itself is irrelevant, but that it is a reproduction of how meaning is derived from the structures that created the text itself. Instead of looking at the text as a standalone, autonomous object that creates its own objectivity, we instead look at the text as an act of communication, similar to a speech act, a declaration of a concept that is not the physical representation of the concept - rather a sign that points to the concept in an indirect manner. The example given in the lecture notes (and Lois Tyson's Critical Theory Today) revolves around the word for book in both French and English. The English word "book" potentially means nothing to a French speaker; and "Livre" nothing to the English speaker, as each is an example of the speakers underlying language structure. French speakers know the linguistic combination of "Livre" to stand in for, represent, and signify the concept of "a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers" (Dictionary) because that is what the structure of their language has arbitrarily determined the word to be. Livre, or book, cannot represent the actual physical existence of the book, rather it acts as a pointer toward the idea of the "real" object or concept out in the world. So thus, each utterance in a language points to a concrete concept, and how that concept is understood through language reflects on how a speaker (or writer, artist, comedian, dancer, so on; all are forms of expression and/or language) views and interprets the world based on their given "structural" understanding of the world. Each "reader" assumes, due to prior exposure to the structure of their given communication (be it French, English, American Sign Language), that when the signifier appears, the built-in, tag-along concept will follow.
Extending this to literature each text is a "speech act" in its own right. Looking at an individual text, as the New Critics would, would equate evaluating his...

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