Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies

Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies

Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2, Summer and Autumn 2018



Detrimental Impacts of Poppy Monoculture on Indigenous Subjects, Plants and Animals: An Ecocritical Reading of Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies

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Critically reading Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, the present paper attempts to explore the impacts of colonization on indigenous subjects, plants and animals. To trace the detrimental effects of colonialism on both environment and people in Sea of Poppies, this study foregrounds the reflection of the obligatory cultivation of poppy under the rule of British colonizers in India. Sea of Poppies is indeed a portrayal of the catastrophic policies enforced in India by British colonizers in the nineteenth century. In his seminal novel Ghosh deals with the changes brought about by the lucrative cultivation of poppy in the exacerbation of the financial status of indigenous subjects. Environmental devastation and the changes in the normal behavior of animals are also dealt with. Focusing on the theoretical frameworks proposed by Graham Huggan and Helen Tiffin, this paper explores the convergence of postcolonialism and ecocriticism in Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies to indicate that not only were native people impoverished during colonialism in India, but also the ecosystem was severely damaged.

The Intertextual and the Theatrical in Postmodern Drama: A Case Study of Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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The present study addresses one of the most recently debated areas in postmodern literature and art, the revival of interest in theatricality. The researcher aims to introduce a few strategies which are used to turn the intertextual elements and the pastiche into working tools for creating theatricality. In order to do so, Thomas Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967) which was later made into a movie version as well, directed by Stoppard himself, is examined. The study tries to show how theatricality can affect the performance as well as the contribution of the spectators to the dramatic text and performance. The shared experience of the pastiche made based on Hamlet by William Shakespeare, can contribute to the understanding of how theatricality can work when intertextuality is a powerful and positive force. The sample scenes chosen here are concluded to be the examples of how the illusion of having a stable identity is what not only the characters, the players or the author just assume to exist, but also what the text deliberately and constantly recreates. The playful nature of theatricality highlights the way each of these contributors willingly dupe themselves for the show to go on.

A Model of Iranian Cultural Identity

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This study aimed, firstly, to extract the underlying factors of Iranian cultural identity and secondly, to confirm the aforementioned factors via Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis. In order to achieve this goal, the researchers reviewed extensive literature on language, culture and identity at both national and international levels. Based on the literature and consultations with a group of 30 language university students and a cadre of experts in the field of sociology, an Iranian Cultural Identity model with six components was hypothesized. In order to test and validate the model, a questionnaire was also developed. To determine the reliability of the questionnaire, Cronbach’s Alpha was used. The reliability of all the items in the questionnaire was 0.78. To measure the construct validity of the model, Exploratory Factor Analysis using PCA was performed, demonstrating five underlying factors of Iranian Cultural Identity. Then, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis through AMOS 22 was performed to test the model and the interaction among variables. The SEM results confirmed the existence of five factors. Finally, statistical results were discussed and implications were provided.

Guests in Albert Camus’s “The Guest”: Essence in Tartarus

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The present article aims to explore the notion of Existentialist essence in the major and minor characters of Albert Camus’s short story “The Guest.” It also takes it upon itself to investigate the different implications of the setting of the story. The central questions of this survey, therefore, are: which of the characters of the short story can be said to have developed a sort of personality we associate with Existentialism? What can be inferred from Camus’s choice of the setting? To answer the questions, this moral/philosophical study first reviews the basic tenets of Existentialism in a nutshell and then probes them as well as their functions in the characters and the setting of the narrative. The present research argues that the only person who fits into Camus’s conception of an Existentialist hero is Daru, even though The Arab, too, develops certain traits which are attuned with the Existentialist mindset. It is also revealed that in “The Guest,” there are significant allusions to   The Myth of Sisyphus, Inferno, Hell, Notes from Underground , “The Waste Land,” and Psalm 23, which create a gloomy setting and represent Daru as a modern Sisyphus. A possible implication is that Camus is effectively comparing the plateau/Algeria/the world to Hades/inferno/Hell and that he is identifying himself with Daru and the people living in the mid-twentieth century with the residents of Tartarus.

Semiotic and Cultural Analysis of English and Persian Advertising Slogans

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The scopes of this research were to analyze the semiotic and cultural aspects of 30 English and Persian advertising slogans of various brands and also to reveal the functions of advertising elements used in the advertising teasers. The slogans were sampled for the analysis on the random basis from the internet sources. The writer used descriptive qualitative method to describe and analyze the semiotic elements; objects; verbal and nonverbal dimensions of advertisements. The semiotic model used in this analysis was Charles San   ders Peirce’s semiotic framework. The researcher identified the frequency of cultural and advertising elements used in the advertising slogans in order to illustrate the techniques used by the companies. The findings of the present research indicated that among the advertising elements, shots, color, and music were used more in the 15 English advertising teasers, but in 15 Persian advertising teasers, shots and color were used more than the other advertising elements. In addition, the functions of semiotic and cultural elements in advertising are as follows: they convey the messages more vividly and comprehensively, facilitate the communication between the advertisers and audiences, indicate the truths and facts in a different way, evoke the awareness and conscience of people in order to help others, convey a piece of information about the advertisement, make reference to a concrete or imaginary reality associated with the values of the advertised product or service, and build a bridge for social groups and various communities.

The Traces of Hermeticism in John Donne’s An Anatomy of the World

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The highlighted purpose of the present study lies on the traces of Hermeticism in John Donne’s celebrated poem, An Anatomy of the World. Since Donne was one of the seventeenth-century poets and a highly significant poet in the metaphysical school of poetry, his poems explore the realms of philosophy, theology, popular science, and also the idea of Platonic love in his love poetry. Hermeticism is an ancient idea which focuses on spiritual, philosophical, and magical tradition. This school of thought concentrates on the path of spiritual growth. It believes that human beings return to a state of unity by the spiritual journey. With reference to this idea, this study explores the elements of Hermeticism in the lines of An Anatomy of the World in order to grasp the idea of spiritual journey and unification in that Donne in this poem centers on a profound quest and spiritual journey of the soul that goes to heaven.

Twentieth-Century American Family Drama: An Exploration of the Image of Loss

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The purpose of this study is to explore the image of loss in modern American drama in the theme of family. The image of loss prevails the post-war era of American drama in three levels of psychological, physical, and moral space. This image is clearly obse   rvable in two of the prominent works of the era, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Moreover, this image of loss is closely connected with the notion of time. The familial breakdown appears as a sustaining motif that plays a central role in the psychologically shattered personality of the major characters, as a result of the profound changes in the American post-war society and family. World War II was a milestone in the society as a whole, and in the family as a smaller society, and correspondingly among the people as entities which the image of loss seemed inseparable from. American post-War drama fully represents the tough conditions of that era particularly in the themes of familial breakdown and the image of loss.