Narrative Devices for Critical Reading of a Popular Cultural Text: A Discourse Analytic Perspective

By Soe Marlar Lwin.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

A critical reader, as defined by Luke, O’Brien, and Comber (2001), is someone who is able to weigh, critique, analyse, and appraise ideologies, values, positions, and techniques in a text. Nowadays, with our textual world becoming increasingly complex due to various contributing factors, such as easy access to plethora of popular cultural texts and multiplicity of communication platforms and media, it has become even more important for young readers to be able to read critically. The challenge, however, has always been to equip young readers or students with tools for interpreting and talking about texts as sociocultural artifacts, which are not ideologically neutral, from a discourse analytic perspective. This paper examines three narrative devices – description, dialogues and focalization – used in the discourse of a fantasy novel and explores the possibilities of using an analysis of narrative devices as a way of uncovering ideological assumptions, specifically gender-role stereotypes, made in a popular cultural text. With a sample analysis and discussion, the paper offers some pedagogical implications of using an analysis of narrative devices as a way to draw students' attention to ideological assumptions made in a popular cultural text.

Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Narrative Devices, Critical Reading, Popular Cultural Texts, Gender-Role Stereotypes

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 395.854KB).

Dr. Soe Marlar Lwin

Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature Department, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore

Soe Marlar Lwin teaches at the Department of English Language and Literature, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research interests include narrative studies, oral storytelling and oracy development.