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Roland Barthes Narrative Essay - 339 Words

Barthes, Roland (1972) ‘Myth Today’. in Mythologies. New York: The Noonday Press

Works by Roland Barthes: Mythologies, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, A Lover's Discourse: An Essay, Image, Music, Text Roland Barthes is.


The early work of Barthes provide ample clues as to future directions. In Writing Degree Zero (1953), he linked style to the body and in Mythologies opened the way for post-Structuralism by noting that myths can be emptied and filled with any available content and thus, once the signifiers were changed, were open to a change in meaning. As Kurzweil pointed out, this individual evolution would be disrupted by the haphazard publication of the works of Parisian intellectuals into English and this non-chronological presentation was further complicated by the insider nature of the writings themselves. The authors not only referred to a long French tradition of philosophy and literature but also to each other as they would fold refutations and debate into larger projects. When Roland Barthes shifted from semiology to structuralism, he was acknowledging what he, as an analyst of writing, the limitations of semiotics. And he did so under the impact of the anthropological shift towards structuralism under the influence of Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009). Structuralism allowed Barthes to examine writing as culture, as being embedded in society. Indeed he replaced a rather passive “method” for a more active examination of literature in which the reader intervened in the text.In the essay “Wine and Milk” (1957), Roland Barthes claims that wine is an importance part of the French society and represents several mythologies. Barthes supports his claim by giving specific examples of the myths of wine and comparing it to the myths of milk in other countries. His purpose is to explain the importance of certain drinks in countries and the nationalism of wine in France. Barthes uses an intellectual style in his essay and intended the audience to be people interested in myths or the meaning of drinks in countries.Barthes also formulate his idea on the theory of myths in which he asserts that myth today is a message not a concept, merely an Idea nor an object. For him, myth Is a product of speech (parole) and Is efined ‘by the way It utters Its message’; rather than of language (langue). In addition to literary criticism, Barthes wrote on music. art, cinema, and photography.In the essay “Soap-powders and Detergents” (1957), Roland Barthes explains the use of psycho-analysis in advertisements for soap and detergents. Barthes supports his claim by describing the uses of soap and the way people see soap by using images and descriptive words. His purpose is to explain the myths behind soap and detergent and how companies use the myths in advertising. The audience is people who watch the advertisements and people in marketing.