CONFLICTING SCRIPTS: IDEOLOGY, STATISM, AND RHETORIC IN E. L. DOCTOROW’S THE BOOK OF DANIEL

Abstract

Ideology, statism and rhetoric all have roots in acting. They all play a crucial role in shaping the individual through language and make assertions concerning reality for purposes of persuading an audience. Like the state, which through ideology exploits its immense power over the citizens to have a prosperous country, the playwright through the manuscript precisely outlines the actors’ lines to produce a consistent, booming act. And both the citizen and the actor are willing to abide the conventions imposed by the state or the playwright. Likewise, the structuralists’ approach guides the reader towards a firm and unified “truth” or “reality” dictated by language. Rhetoric, however, concentrates on the free ability of the individual, whether he is a citizen, a playwright-actor, or reader to use language effectively and freely to bring about a change in the audience’s positions. Doctrines, roles and texts are open to a polarity of interpretations. These propositions are particularly ancillary to understanding Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel. In this paper, I will discuss a few major issues: what Doctorow tries to discover through the medium of acting; how it is reflected in his treatment of the main themes and characters; and how it affects the narrative point of view

Keywords: Ideology; statism; rhetoric; acting; structuralism; reader-oriented theories and narration.


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 1-18 (Download PDF)

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