The Reality EffectRoland Barthes’s “The Reality Effect” discussed the reality within the fictional novels.
Barthes described different examples from different novels to show the importance of description, illusion, fiction, and reality. Barthes also discussed some terms that give more understanding to the issue of literary genres especially in the context of novel from its beginning up to this period. Through these, the readers would be able to define, systematize, and learn the meaning, essence, and importance of novel in real situation and construction of society.Novels are long enough to read. The authors described each situation in details specification. It is often interpreted as luxurious narration as based on Barthes’s idea of description.
Luxurious narration acquires rich culture and identity that can be seen most often in the beginning of the novels. It can be beautiful and extravagant but sometimes inappropriate in the context of the society. According to Barthes (1986), it is called ‘useless details’. Describing every detail is sometimes illogical for it only shows abundance but having no specificities in the novel.
Resistance of the ‘real’ to structure is very limited in the fictive account, constructed by definition on a model which, for its main outlines, has not other constraints than those of intelligibility (Barthes 1986, p.260). As we read fictive narratives, we may be able to connect the scenes or the whole plot into realism but there are no concrete depictions of reality.
It only means that in fictive accounts, fiction lies within each aspect without pertaining to the reality of life in specific context.The ‘aesthetic purpose of the description’ critically described the ‘linear’ formation of characters or setting in a story. It counterattacks the plain description of the characters in the novel where there is no accurate transformation that evolves. Plain description of the narrative can also be called as senseless description.
Through this, the readers could immediately connect with the story without an aspect of inquisitive idea of the narrative because every situation and portion of the story is given that brings boredom to the readers. Through the ‘aesthetic purpose of description’, a crucial transformation will be distinguished and will give relevant idea and purpose to the character.Each concept is connected to one another. Each is a unit, and all units are interrelated by virtue of certain features of deep structure that they all have in common (Barthes 1986, p. 263). Not only in reality that the concept of everything is connected to every thing because even in the context of literature, it also exists. To be able to give the purpose and identity of each context, idea, or thought, each unit is connected to one another for they shed to one goal – a perfection of narration.
That is why the author’s attacks to their stories are interrelated to be able to provide wholeness and justice to their narrative.Another term discussed in the text is the ‘concrete reality’. It is also called as the insignificant factors in literature. It means that this concept describes and discusses the idea of complexity or complicated perspective. To be able to make a certain story more interesting but crucial, concrete reality is used. Therefore, this concept played a significant role to make novels realistic from a factor of fiction.‘Realism’ and ‘referential illusion’ are also interrelating factors.
They became connected as the author discussed her characters, setting, and plot. It was said that, reality develops through unrealistic lines (Barthes 1986, p.260). Therefore, even if the authors provide fictive narrative to their readers, there are instances that these fictive perspectives brought reality to the society in indirect conception.
It only means that the transformation of fictive narrative to reality based concept is indirectly discussed but it emerged into this process.The main argument of Barthes in his article is to describe the trend and path of novel through time. That is why the main focus is to analyze the concept and perspectives of the authors within their texts and also to define the attacks of the characters, the description of the setting, and the domination of the plot.
Throughout its entire history there is a consistent parodying or travestying of dominant or fashionable novels that attempt to become models of the genre… this ability of the novel to criticize itself is a remarkable feature of this ever-developing genre (Barthes 1986, p.264). In the previous period, novel is the most significant form of literature. Therefore, the standard lies within the novel that brought criticism to other forms of literary works. This serves as the ideological transformation of different genres to make their target audience appeal to their works.In conclusion to this, Barthes’s discussion of reality within the fictive narrative shows the deconstruction of social standards towards the idea of literature.
Through the help of several fictive stories that he described, Barthes had the power to rationalize the illusions and reality of fiction towards a significant evolution of truth. The article is hard to understand in the beginning but as the readers go along with the main point and idea of the author, they will understand each portion with distinction and relevance to one another.ReferenceBARTHES, Ronald. 1986. The Reality Effect.
(In Walder, D., The Realist Novel: An Introductory Textbook. Routledge, 1996; pp. 258-267.)