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Slide 1

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Barthes theory of codes
Roland Barthes describes a text as `a galaxy of signifiers, not a
structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we
gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be
authoritatively declared to be the main one; the code it
mobilizes extend as far as the eye can read, they are
indeterminable...the systems of meaning can take over this
absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as
it is on the infinity of language (1974 Translation).'
· Barthes said that texts may be open or closed.
· Barthes suggested that there will be one or more of the five
codes that describe the meaning of a text.…read more

Slide 2

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The five codes:
The Hermeneutic Code (HER): the voice of the truth, is the way the story
avoids telling the truth or revealing all the facts, in order to drop clues in
through out to help create mystery.
The Enigma/Proairectic Code (ACT): empirical voice, the way the tension is
built up and the audience is left guessing what happens next.
The Symbolic Code (SYM): the voice of symbols, organising semantic
meanings into broader and deeper sets of meaning. Typically done in the use
of antithesis, where new meaning arises out of opposing and conflict ideas.
The Cultural Code (REF): the voice of science, looks at the audience wider
cultural knowledge, morality and ideology.
The Semantic Code (SEM): the voice of the person, the semantic code points
to any element in a text that suggests a particular meaning by way of
connotation which the story suggests. Connotation is the cultural/underlining
meaning, what it symbolises.…read more


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