The analysis of the ideology and power relationships in the novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish based on Fairclough’s critical approach: A case study of the mythical symbols in the novel

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Arabic Language & Literature, Yazd University

2 Ph. D of Arabic Language & Literature, Yazd University



Introduction: Discourse analysis is a new method of identifying the socio-cultural factors that play roles in the creation of discourse. In terms of domain, this method not only functions at micro-levels but also addresses macro-levels including the society, history and ideology. It clarifies the place of discourse in campaigns for conservation or the change of power relationships. A major approach to the critical analysis of discourse was proposed by Norman Fairclough. He considers discourse as a means of expressing one's ideology and reflecting socio-cultural changes as well as power-related issues. He has presented the concept of discourse analysis at descriptive, interpretive and expository levels. Considering that every mythical symbol is the reconstruction of an original fact and serves to intertextually denote a part of a certain ideology or culture, the present study makes use of the aforementioned three levels postulated by Fairclough so as to analyze the mythical symbols in the novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish authored by Abdul Hamid ben Hadouga (1925-1996).
Methodology: Through a descriptive-analytic method and with reference to the levels set by Fairclough (i.e., description, interpretation and exposition), the present study seeks to analyze the mythical symbols in the novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish by the Algerian author Abdul Hamid ben Hadouga. These symbols, along with the contextual and intertextual features as well as the type of the discourse run in the novel, help to clarify the novelist's ideas and his position versus the power conflicts in the specific circumstances of the Algerian society during the 1970s.
Analysis of the mythical symbols in the novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish

a) Descriptive level: One of the tasks at the descriptive level of discourse analysis is the retrieval of the metaphors used in the text. This task is, indeed, a part of the lexical investigation of the text. Such an analysis is quite possible with regard to the fact that the myths to deal with are in line with the metaphors in the text and many characters are symbolically represented. In this novel, Ben Hadouga uses the character Aljazieh to accurately depict the circumstances of the Algerian society in the 1970s. This character is the reminder of several symbols and myths. She is the daughter of a hero who died to liberate Algeria from colonialism. Through metaphors and ideological lexical items such as genuineness, martyrdom and campaign for the liberation of homeland, the author seeks to shed light on the manifestations of nationalism and religiousness. As he puts it, "She is a genuine girl whose father is a great martyr and whose mother is a righteous woman. God meant death for her in childbirth, and the birth was something like martyrdom. Now, her trainer is Aisha, a daughter of Mansour, who is a great hero and a virtuous combatant." The other mythical symbols discussed in the novel are Isāf and Nā'ila and Himar ul-Dzahab, which are Greek myths.
b) Interpretive level: At this level, the interpreter determines the type of discourse, introduces those who run the discourse, and analyzes the contextual and intertextual features of the text on the basis of the background knowledge activated by the text surface features and the symbol discussed at the descriptive level.

The situational context and the type of the discourse: The novel denotes the circumstances in Algeria during the 1970s. It makes use of mythical symbols and creates icons out of real figures as well as sociopolitical and cultural conditions in Algeria after it was liberated from colonialism but entrapped in internal conflicts and political purgation.
Intertextual features and presumptions: One of the stipulations of Fairclough's theory is to pay attention to intertextual features at the interpretive level. Intertextually, there are relationships among the other novels by Ben Hadouga, namely Rih al-Djanoub  (The wind of the South, 1971), Nihayatou al Ams  (The End of Yesterday, 1975) and Banae al‑Soubh  (Laying Bare, 1980). These novels state a sequence from armed campaign to campaign for social developments. The novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish states the latter. In this novel, Abdul Hamid takes inspirations from Algerian historical and narrative texts to consciously create symbolic icons out of historical events and induce a mental comparison of those events with the situational context of the novel.

c) Expository level: At this level, the text adopts a certain ideological position so as to answer the question "Does the discourse try to conserve the power structure or change the current situation?" The discourse managed through Aljazieh, Himar ul-Dhahab, and Isāf and Nā'ila is of an ideological type. It calls for a change and seeks to establish a genuine Islamic-Arabic identity.

Conclusion: In this study Fairclough's approach of discourse analysis was used to analyze the mythical symbols in the novel Al-Jazieh wa al-Daravish at the levels of description, interpretation and exposition. The results obtained are as follows:
- At the description level, Abdul Hamid ben Hadouga’s discourse about the mythical symbols relates to the events that occurred in Algeria in the 1970s, i.e., during the post-independence time. By using these symbols or creating symbols out of historical figures and events, the author describes the chaotic conditions of the country and considers the genuine religious and Arabic culture as well as liberation from the Western colonial culture as the factors of social advancement. In his novel, Al-jazieh is the reminder of Zidgia, who symbolizes religiousness. In addition, Al-jazieh al-Hlalieh symbolizes wisdom and resistance and mysteriously represents the affairs in Algeria. Besides, Isāf and Nā'ila serve as symbols for the campaign against secularism, and Himar ul-Dhahab raises awareness and indicates the role of being truly religious in bringing about real safety.
- At the interpretation level, Ben Hadouga’s discourse in the novel is closely entangled with socio-political circumstances in the Algerian society. This discourse is formed under the impact of various groups that seek dominance over Algeria. The author rejects this dominance and tries to embody his own ideology by linking his discourse to a mythological texture. This is just like his attempt to better impart the concepts of resistance and perseverance as well as the attachment of politics and religion by using the mythical symbols of Aljazieh, Himar ul-Dhahab, and Isāf and Nā'ila.
- At the exposition level, the main objective pursued by Ben Hadouga is to raise people's awareness for the regeneration of power relationships. Being ideological, scrupulous and committed, his discourse calls for a change of the conditions in the Algerian society of the 1970s. The author intends to change the power structure in favor of Islamists who have a genuine Arabic culture. To this end, he has both used Algerian mythological symbols and created myths out of the national figures and heritage symbols


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