The Lotus Eater Essay

2758 Words Dec 13th, 2011 12 Pages
Mythic Structure in Somerset Maugham’s “The Lotus Eater”

The word ‘myth’ is derived from the Greek word ‘mythos’, which means a traditional tale common to the member of a tribe, race or nation. It usually involves the supernatural elements to explain some natural phenomenon in boldly imaginative terms. Today myth has become one of the most prominent terms in contemporary literature analysis. It was Northrop Frye, one of the most influential myth critics (others including Robert Graves, Francis Fersusson, Richard Chase, Philip Wheelwright), who discovered certain formulas in the word order. He identified these formulas as the “conventional myths and metaphors” which he calls "archetypes". C.G. Jung was of the view the materials of the
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In the words of Graham Allen:
“Reading thus becomes a process of moving between texts. Meaning becomes something which exists between a text and all the other texts to which it refers and relates, moving out from the independent text into a network of textual relations.”
In opposition to the well-known theory of Intertextuality, which, having taken into its consideration various post-structural strands of criticism together or by turns, in effect disperses the meaning of a text into an indefinite array of possibilities, the contemporary French theorist and critic Gérard Genette uses the term transtextuality to denote “the textual transcendence” (1), only through which, he argues, it is possible to reach the stable and viable significations of a text. The recognition of the nature of sign as non-referential and differential, as mentioned above, makes it quite impossible today to consider a text any more as an isolated and independent work, which takes on its meaning by referring to the things existing in the real world outside the system of language and thus either representing the reality by imitation or giving vent to the feeling, temperament and creative imagination of its author. So, it is rather futile now to seek the meaning of an individual text only within that text itself, but to probe for it into the relation between that text and all the other texts which are on some level or other related to the previous

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