A Discourse-Analysis Based Critical Approach to Contextual Interpretation of Heteroglossic Situation in the Novel

Edirisingha Arachchige Gamini Fonseka


According to the theory of dialogism propounded by Mikhail Bakhtin, all discourse in the novel is a product of a process of dialogic imagination. Yet heteroglossic situation in the novel differs from general narration, as it involves interaction among two or more characters speaking in their respective voices to represent different aspects of reality in a form of dramatisation. Authors depict certain situations in the reported speech as they can be portrayed in terms of straightforward accounts and certain situations in dialogue as they need dramatization in order to enable readers to realize the actual conflicts or interactions they wish to simulate. Dialogue engendered through the participation of two or several characters is considered heteroglossic situation because of the heterogeneity of the language shades and voices in which they express themselves. While reading a novel for both language development and literary perception, the heteroglossic situations sometimes create problems for the readers as they need more pragmatic knowledge to understand the actual conversations and the messages conveyed through them. There a discourse analysis-based critical approach becomes crucial as it is required to deal with the identities and asymmetrical power relations the characters maintain throughout their conversations, other than the speech acts they carry out, the social atmospheres they help to engender, the messages they help to communicate, and the concepts they help to foreground in relation to their contexts. In regard to this, this paper attempts to develop a discourse analysis-based critical approach to the contextual interpretation of heteroglossic situation in the novel. 

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