Fiction and Reality

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Fiction and Reality

1. When we analyze the relationships between language and literature, it is almost certain that we will have to encounter the topic of their referential function i.e. their relation to objectivity, appearance and inter-subjective context. If we recall some of the most notable and most accepted definitions of the language sciences, literature and signs, we will find ourselves in an apparently contradictory situation. If, as an explorer or scientist you accept the advantages of modern linguistics and its founder Saussure then that will implicate our acceptance of his futuristic, in that period, science about signs in which domain he places linguistics. I say, implicate, because this is one of his main claims on which his language theory is based. This fact is especially important since Saussure’s concepts served as basis for strengthening and establishing Poetics, including Russian Formalism via the European Structuralism up until today, as well as contemporary cultural studies. So we can conclude that language is just a separate segment of the more general phenomenon the sign.
Unlike Saussure, another distinguished scientist claims that semiotics is in principle a discipline which studies everything that can be used for lying (U.Eco. Theory of Semiotics. 1976. P.7).
If the language sign acts in accordance with the general characteristics of all the other types of signs, which is natural to expect, then the basis for the definition and the function of referential functions become very thin. Towards what all the types of signs lead and of what nature is the referent are the questions which we need to separate the grains from the crop in this particular case. We will reach the answers in an indirect way, i.e. through literary examples which can be decently instructive. In the process the aspects of the adjective terms fiction and reality will be encountered.

2. The term fiction generates from the Latin fictio meaning ‘making up’. Furthermore, fiction is defined as displaying something which is not real, but in a way which the unreal suggests as real. (Rečnik književnih termina. T. Fikcija). On the other hand, realism as a method, suggests displaying of things as they really are. Clarifying things is made more difficult in the fields of literature where, I would say, subjectivity is distinctive. In the cultural radius in the one we belong the subjective reality is considered less real than the objective reality. The procedures in which we constitute and conventionalize this objective reality are very problematic and disputable. However, I do not intend to lead the text into philosophical-ontological waters, primarily because of caution, so therefore I shall move onto concrete observations of literary texts which make this problematic more actual.

3. In the history of media the event which happened on 30 October 1938 (Halloween’s Day) is generally known. Namely, the program of the American Radio broadcast the radio-play “Invasion from Mars”, Orson Welles’s adaptation of the novel “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Welles. In the performances in his radio-plays Orson Welles participated actively, which was the case that night. Anyway, during and after the performance the chaos which reigned the streets and the listeners ran the gamut from mass panic to hysteria. Even cases of people packing up in panic, hiding in shelters, preparing their weapons and even covering their heads with wet towels as a protection from possible poison gases from the Martians were witnessed. This example is very interesting because it illustrates the transformation or the transition from a representative fiction to a real event. In what extent the narrative made this reaction possible is an interesting question to which I will return later.
The author and the crew made several concrete steps in the direction of increasing the effect of dramatization and persuasiveness of the radio performance. Above all, the novel is performed in a form of a news broadcast, i.e. as a journalist report from the venue. Before the performance dance music was deliberately played on the radio, which on its own part increased the shock of the sudden interruption of the programme. This was seasoned with sound effects which considerably enhanced the tension. The dramatic tone of the actor-reporters and their “creative” descriptions of the Martians also contributed greatly to the effect.

4. It can be said that the topics which involve fear and desires while being receipted most stubbornly resist the category reality and objectivity. On the other hand it is difficult to imagine a literary text which does not tend to a certain minimum of sensitivity, which is brought to or originates from fear or desire. The fear and desires are characterized with stressed directness to the human subjectivity, so, their engagement in literary text is understandable. The term reality or authenticity is developed collectively and is tightly connected with the area in which it is used. The real presents a kind of union of the events which happened and the events which might have happened, no contradictory to each other. If we return to the definition of fiction in the word manner (of presenting) we will find the conventional factor condensed the same one which conditions the effect of reality or fiction. So, the realistic or the fictive effect, above all, would depend on the manner of presentation, and not on the connection to the referents. This leads to the advantage of the distinctive feature of the context in the formation of any kind of meaning, because the use of a defined manner of signification requires consistency of a certain context (methodological, social, cultural etc.).

AuthorSead Džigal
2018-08-21T17:24:03+00:00 August 1st, 1998|Categories: Literature, Reviews, Blesok no. 04|0 Comments