Functions and signs of Motif in narrative.


Functions and signs of Motif in narrative.


 Hidden text sounds

A meeting with Leyla Sadeghi, Mohammad Hassan Shahsavari and Mani Jafarzadeh

Niloufar Niavarani- Ladan Niknam: Among the writings of each author, an item may be repeated in one sense, concept or element. And all the things about »Motif«maybe this repetition. A recurrence of thought has sprung up and it is looking for a topic and wants to add something to the subject. It means if the author emphasizes a point and this emphasis wants to make repetitions in the form, for sure he decides to target somewhere in the mind of the audience.

And among them are writers who have always repeated a text considering the variety of their works. Although this interpretation, Motif, first entered the literature from visual arts and music but by following a repeatable line in the works of each outstanding writer and his trend we can find out the repetitive elements of his texts.

In this round table, Leyla Sadeghi presented a detailed description of the existing theoretical currents as a linguist, writer and structuralism poet, Also, Mohammad Hassan Shahsavari, as a novelist whose world of fiction now has its own specific components and motifs , spoke about the interpretations and definitions of the motifs in Contemporary fiction, and eventually we benefited from a musician “Mani Ja’farzadeh” Who was also a writer and created the composition of the note and the word that made us to follow the roots of the introduction of the “motif” from music to literature.

This discussion contributes to the recognition of repetitive elements in Iranian fiction.


In cinema and literature, we usually try to discuss that there is a clear achievement for people interested in fiction writing. In many debates we chose there were limited Persian sources and this situation exists in »motif « too. It is referred to them in structralists books and their definitions are provided. For this we thought we should have a definition of motif at first. Because Mr. Jafarzadeh comes into our discussion of the field of music and essentially the concept of music has entered the literature, we want to make a connection between these two fields and see where this term comes from and what achievement and function it has and how it has entered the literature.


Mani Jafarzadeh: What we first discuss here is based on the academic study of form in classical European music. So my talk is not Iranian music at the very beginning. Later, we may be able to extend it to Iranian music, which I will explain, but what we know in scientific education of classical music, one of the first classes in the form, for example, in the first year of the School of Music, is the recognition of motifs, but not necessarily in the sense that Now it’s used in literature. Since the thing you said before the beginning of the meeting, it appears that in literature the motif is considered as “that repeating phenomenon.” Now, if other friends agree that this definition is a definition of motif in literature, I will have to explain that in music this is not a true definition, although in definition of musical motif repetition is also one of its components, but basically in music the smallest unit of a musical sentence is called a motif. It means smaller than that part is meaningless.In other words, in the definition of musical motifs, we encounter a musical cell, which less than it, would be meaningless. That’s all of it. For example, one of the most famous motifs in the history of the world of music is the first four notes of the Beethoven Symphony 5. Less than G-G-G-E flat will no longer be meaningful. With this definition, it is assumed that in melodies and themes of various works, when the meaningful elements of the music could not be shortened to a certain extent, the last meaningful musical cell which remains is the motif. In fact now this motif is usually repeated throughout the piece, but in a very large piece, for example, an opera or a sonata or a symphony, there are probably several sentences that are composed of different motifs and sometimes even contrasts. In the tradition of dramatic music such as opera, theatrical music, and the film, it’s a motif that is heard more than the other motifs, in other words, it repeats itself more than other motifs, or depends on a specific personality or position, that is called “Light Motif” not just the word <motif> alone. The closest place where this concept of music is transmitted to literature, as far as I remember, should be the end of the eighteenth century. Let’s not forget that until then, music and literature were not examined together, that is, from the definition of Aristotle to this point, music was a branch of mathematics, and due to its fixed rules, it may referred to as art. Accordingly, the definition of music was that of mathematics and finding a link between music and other arts, including literature, which had not received much attention until the late eighteenth century. When the relationship between literature and music becomes more serious, it is just the late eighteenth century that classical forms are formed. For before that, the forms are more or less subtle and in the classical era, they find the strongest. One of the most important forms of the classical era is the Sonata, which classical musicians themselves believe in its narrative and storytelling form.


Where does it enters the literature?

Jafarzadeh: I do not know exactly where the literature comes from. But I know this is the first time we encounter this phenomenon that composers say they are telling stories with their music, at the end of the eighteenth century was in the form of a Sonata. Earlier in the Renaissance, they were musicians and singers that were playing musical instrument and telling story, hence they were called in the history of music by the name of Troubadour. Maybe we can say they were like our Bakhshian in the south of Khorasan or Ashighlar in Azerbaijan. This has been another job. A kind of bond between the word and the music. The stories that they told and do, in the modern sense of the word, do not have a story structure and it is more considered a case. They are pursuing a case. Like KorOghli’s case. In the case of KorOghli you do not encounter with different layers of a story. There is a very straightforward storyline to open a way and play the music there. But what shaped and talked about as forms and small technical concepts, such as motifs in music, appeared to be in the end of the eighteenth century.


And this term that enters the literature, means repetition?

Jafarzadeh: No idea. However, the motif is a repetitive phenomenon, but I’m not sure in the literature that it is simply referred to as the repeating element of the motif. Is that true?


Ms. Sadeghi, in your opinion, when it comes to literature, is its meaning suddenly interpreted as a repetition?

Leyla Sadeghi: In literature, there are three different views to the definition of motifs. One is that, for example, if we look at it as a constructivist approach, they have made motifs and motive against morpheme and allomorph. Motif is the author’s mentality and it’s in his consciousness. For example, a belief or a particular thing, which is the mental concern and the main significance of the subject for the author himself. But this subjectivity finds outward manifestation, in effect and in the text or in that story, it is implemented and used, that quoted from constructionists as motive. For example, the author may want to work on the motif of poverty and corruption; this mentality can be expressed in different ways, in other words, in different motifs in the text. This dichotomy between motif and motive was formed when constructivist studies were so commonplace that all other fields were modeled on constructive linguistics. The matching of motif with morpheme and motive with allomorph was that, since morpheme is a person’s mental image of a word, then the motif is the writer’s mind about the subject of the work, and this mentality can have different forms, when it comes to the outer manifestation such as allomorph. So, the motif can be created in different ways. For example, we can say that the broken nails of a child from his work or his dirty face or his tattered clothes, if repeated, can be a motive of a story based on the motif of poverty. But there are two other glances to the motif. Second, the motif is defined as a repeating element. Everything itself is not a motif, but when it is repeated, it stimulates the sensitivity of the audience and indicates the cause behind this repetition. These repetitive elements are signs that by following them we discover something beyond the text.

It means that the author promised himself to execute a repeating sign in the text in the form of a number of images.

Sadeghi: we can say that the repetition of a particular expression may not necessarily be a motif, but the concept that now is conjuring up the things in a virtual form in a semantic realm, all together, is the motif.

Jafarzadeh: For example, can we say that is core of the story?

Sadeghi: Based on the third approach to the motif, the dominant themes and patterns of thought in the text can form a motif. Each literary text is a network of themes that refer to the central theme of the text and consolidate it. Every theme that becomes the dominant element in the text is a motif, and what makes a theme dominant is its repetition. In fact, the motif exists before the story is written. But when it is written, it becomes a theme. And there is a difference in what we call it a theme with the motif, in the case that if it is used consciously and objectively in an opus, it becomes a theme.

The concepts associated with the motif in literature are concerned with repetitive issues, as if these concepts were inevitable with the motifs. Is this repetition the main part of the motif or not?

Mohammad Hossein Shahsavari: I studied various sources. In fact it comes from music. Of course, it is in architecture as well as in visual arts. At a later stage, like many other concepts, it enters literature in the same way as structure and the like. Of course, I mean the literature in this Speech is a novel in the period of romanticism.


Early nineteenth century

Shahsavari: More precisely in the late seventeenth century. For the same reason, theoretically, it has worked on it less. Nor is this concept, other concepts that come from other arts in modern literature, are less appropriately defined. At least in Persian. For example, for my book I was looking for the two rhythm and tempo issues in a novel to see how they could be created.

What are the elements that make up the rhythm and tempo? As they say, it’s easy in music and it’s completely math. Many others are science. Literature, for its very nature, does not contain many definitions. One of its most famous definitions is that it does not look like its previous novels. In other words, every novel is the beginning of the history of writing novel. Now, let’s go through these preconditions, which you know better than me. There is no such thing in the field of fictional literature as the scholars agree on. As for the general definition of rhythm, I came up with repeating elements in different definitions. One is the “repetition”. In fact, I set the definition not to the definition of essence but to the definition of its effect. There are a few things that are constantly repeated in this area. But they are two major branches. Apart from the fact that Ms. Sadeghi and other constructivists have mentioned, the theory of music on the literature is completely implemented. It means the morph that is morpheme. Skip it that Just….

Sadeghi: the language.

Shahsavari: yes. The language.

Sadeghi: the theory of language.

Shahsavari: The perfect adaptation of music to the theory of language. In this context, many of the debates about the motif and the light motif, the symbol and these, are no longer valid. That is, many of these discussions are no longer possible. So apart from this view they define motif in two main fields. The most frequent of these is, of course, the music. In music, motif is part of the theme. In literature, the same is true. Motif is part of the theme. Every repeating thing should help theme, for this reason, the learned translators, such as Dr. Payandeh, have translated the word motif to <Bonmaye and Naghshmayeh>. Indeed it means the theme. Because it’s part of it. In fact, with this definition, anything specifically here a novel or short story that touches the main theme. But in addition to “repeating” and “helping to highlight the theme”, the third function of the motif is “the sense of creating unity” in the whole effect.  The audience with motifs or light motifs (here, specifically, wherever the motif is, I mean, Light Motif) understands the work as a whole. The fourth feature of the motif that is less discussed but exists in the root of the word is the creation of a sense of “arousal” in the text. That is to say, the text uses the motif of the text in such a way that it attracts the attention of the audience with arousal. Be careful that you use a wide range of things as motifs of a literary text. From image to sentence, dialogue, character, action, plot, sub plot. Anything that highlights the theme with its repetition.

** Mr. Ja’farzadeh, in fact, something that all are agree with is that what is repeated is probably a kind of excitement or an intrinsic unity. Now, what is very much questionable is that when we are talking about the stimulus of a text, exactly what we are talking about? The excitation of a text, i.e., does its suspension go up? Does it create a rhythm? Does it create suspend? For example, we say that if we see in a story the presence of red scarf, which is repeated, is it a code that creates suspense and symbolizes play and symbolism in the mind of the audience? Or it works like a sign?

Jafarzadeh: I’m not sure to say that motif is the function of semiotics in music, because I am not a composer. That is, this literary function you speak of, I do not have any definition of it in my mind and I do not remember it. This is one issue. But one point I would like to say before we enter this discussion. It is also true that both the literature and the music have the attribute that they have to accompany the audience for a certain period of time. This is something that does not happen in painting. The audience decides to look at the work of art for a moment! He can stand for thirty seconds, can stand five minutes ahead of a panel. But when you write a novel and say that this novel is 270 pages, you will have to persuade your reader to read 270 pages. When you write music and you explained this music is 22 minutes, you must convince your audience that you have 22 minutes to go. Excitement is supposed to be done to accompany the audience to continue this piece for 22 minutes. It would be excitement, maybe. About suspension in literature, it would be harder to reach a definition, because in music the suspension and its creation is fully taught and defined mathematically, which is shaped more in harmony, and it wasn’t related to the form we were discussing.

Shahsavari: So suspension means postponing the information.

Jafarzadeh: Well, in that musical discussion we started, the motif does not necessarily do this. The motif maybe make you interested. For example, we have a form in music called Rondo. Rondo is a chorus. Imagine something like a melody is struck up. Just like a literary sense, in which, more or less a personality is introduced as a character. Then the story moves to another way, but this character reappears. It has an identity for itself. While convincing you to read the story to see who this person is or to listen to the music, you see, the theme you heard at the beginning was repeated in a different way. As a result, the excitation has different functions, which in Music is not necessarily derived from motifs. In music, suspension is not like that. These are very well-defined in music. For example, when you talk about the Suspends chords in music, it’s clear what you say, but in literature the definitions are not this much mathematical.


Jafarzadeh: Marking is also not a musical word. Although it seems more efficient to carry the meaning, at least for literary concepts.


When such a repetition occurs with such an indication in the text, is the rational logic ruling? Perhaps more spontaneous and innovative, this logic is happening, and it creates a rhythm or suspend in the audience. Or even for the novelist himself, those who are writing. Or even for that person. I want to know that can the excitation you mentioned, in relation to the character of that story, force us to react when encountering that sign or thing? I mean, when we speak of a kind of repetition, this repetition in the world of music follows a mathematical logic; in the literary context it is not necessarily as mathematical as it is. But what influences the creator of an oeuvre when the repeating sign for a character enters? What effect does it have on the audience, as if such an activity is going to happen to that person? Is this function structurally or not?

Sadeghi: Let’s go back a little and then answer your question. In literature, as in language, we can borrow a word from a different language and use it with different meaning, in other words, the same meaning in first language cannot be conveyed in Target language. For example, a lot of Arabic words are used in Persian with different meanings and if you again tell them such words they do not understand the meaning of them because they do not use them in the same way. Motif is the same. According its use both in music and in literature or elsewhere, it may be differently defined. The previous issue I said was that the constructivists, in a period in which constructivism was the dominant theory of society, tried to link everything with language theories, and to define it in the framework of linguistic ideas by force. Then they looked at it as if the linguistic equivalent for motif is morpheme, and it is the smallest meaningful unit of the language of music. In fact, in subsequent periods, views and theories, they came to this conclusion that the language is not supposed to extend its theories to arts and to other areas. Because the language has its own rules. The music has its own rules. The story has its own rules. That is why another discipline called semiotics was considered to be the mother of linguistics, for example; to not all other arts come and get their rules from linguistic structures. I mentioned this because, now, we do not have the view that motif, the same thing as music, is supposed to have the same function, which necessarily repetition leads into building the main concept of the novel, because the motif has different functions. One of its functions, for example, can be adding a semantic layer to the text, which is usually now in the divisions that are discussed in some places. But, as I say, as everyone has pointed out, there is no consensus on it and they are currently commenting on it all and there is no single and comprehensive meaning. But one of its functions is to divide the motif into three parts, for example, the self-conscious, personal unconscious and collective unconscious, by this division of Jung, the motif that adds semantic layer is based on the author’s individual unconscious. That is, the author does not say what he wants, but he wants to make that sense and shape the text, without saying straight and without telling the audience that I want to say it, instead by using the motif he makes the semantic layers that definitely in an indirect and broad way the audience will enjoy reading more.

**In a sense, it finds a semiotic function

Sadeghi: The function becomes a sign. Because everything can have a sign function.

 Is that sign entered into the text without any conventions?

Sadeghi: what does it mean? Signs are not necessarily conventional, but you are communicating with them in order to obtain semantic implications and when a writer or author of a fiction writes a text, he forms his own individuality and experience of his own life and forms what he wants to make. In fact, the mental conditions of the author make the motif a literary tool in his own story and creates that semantic layer. But we have other motifs that the authors use consciously in more realistic stories. So that the author wants to convey his own thoughts and ideas indirectly in the text.

** Well let me give you an example. Consider, the old man vendor, his function and his repetition during the whole text and that image that is repeated throughout the book Blind Owl; this unconscious layer of Sadegh Hedayat is actually aroused and repeated throughout the work. How does he use his own unconsciousness to carry the meaning and this pictorial motif creates such an effect? What should the author’s unconsciousness can do to challenge the mind of his audience and take that meaning and use it in order to convey his feeling? What direction does this sense of literary text take to reach the minds of the audience?

Sadeghi: Now consider the author. According to the life experience of the author,   his mental condition and also the situation of his community are reflected in the text.  When a motif, like that vendor old man, is chosen, this choice is because of both Hedayat’s mental condition and collective conditions and those conditions governing the community of that period. Therefore, Hedayat’s personal experience due to his living in France for a period of time and reading a novel such as Aurelia has become a part of his life, and even it is said that the Blind Owl is like Aurelia, so an adaptation is very close to another. But how come a particular thing in Hedayat’s work is driven by motifs? The other one is the condition of that time when, for example, the vendor old man became the motif of the story, since Hedayat lived in the era of domination of the blind and foolish beliefs of the people, so at least he wanted to create the role of that vendor old man. But how to convey the meaning to the audience, well, we know that not all the audience are supposed to have a single interpretation. This motif is one of its functions that the old-fashioned Kenserpensioni in the whole effect of conducting a cohesiveness is created to link the various parts of the work, the parts that may be scattered, but all connect to the old-fashioned kinzaperazzi and this causes the audience to be simultaneously It feels that there is a dispersion in it, that it gives it unity and that coherence and pleasure, and that the function that accompanies the audience with it is created in this way. But the second function that we said is when it happens that the audience will come up and see how the elements chosen as motifs are related to other elements of the story. The relationship between the old-fashioned Kinsharpathian woman and her lover, with her being torn apart, with different things, for example, everything that is associated with the old man, the kinship, the carriage, and all that, in the form that they are connected to, make a sign build up. Now, how is this gastric construction transmitted to the audience, based on the whole text, when the audience is brought up, the impressions and readings can be from the motif that the main theme has been able to make to the audience. That is why, for example, you never see a single analysis of an effect.

*** You do not think that the motif as a contract may, according to the same argument that Mrs. Sadeqi makes, of the unconscious the author becomes aware of the author, and then acts like a contract, so that the writer refers to it during its writing and creation, in order to approach everything around it and close it in the form. And when it actually completes this form in terms of architecture, it comes up and serves the theme and creates the theme and highlights the level of effectiveness.

Shahsavari: It’s all the same. See if it’s going to go through the terminology of fiction literature, it’s definitely a structural element. I have already mentioned them: the image and character and other components of the structure. For example, the sentence “The timing is so” is a motif in the slave’s house No. 5. This can be the old-fashioned Cinematographer who you say. Anyway, these are things that are part of the structural elements of literature or novel. And here, in fact, we are our definition or, better, to say our relationship with the form and content that determines what our meaning is about its motif, its effect and its function. In this glance, which I agree with, is contrary to the formalist view that says the form is the same. Here it says that the form helps to influence the theme or theme or content. What do you do in order to serve all kinds of motifs, which is definitely a structure? The motif is where it makes sense. Help with the theme’s impact on the audience with motifs (like other structure components).

***The argument that you mentioned as the last feature is diversity. The breadth of choosing a writer, a writer, and what it chooses as a motif is, I think, a very important topic. Does this go back to the author’s worldview? Do you like the taste of a writer and just his taste?

Sadeghi: Is not his taste a part of his worldview?

It may be its worldview, but it refers to its own personal taste and behaves differently, for example, it may refer to strawberries in most of its short stories. It means strawberries, a special use that is a sign of its specific meaning and taste. But it’s used in one form every time. My question is what affects this diversity. I think this is very important. That is, in every work that he chooses, for example, depending on the content and content that he chooses for a type of motif, and whether each author and author is writing with motifs that are always present in his mind? It seems to have always been a unitary tool and they use it forever.

Shahsavari: Because this is the same division of Jung who says that the motifs either come from your own consciousness or from a subconscious individual or collective subconscious. These are totally in Yong’s discussions, and the motif comes from here. In addition, that’s why there are two motif models that have external references that are symbols and symbols and ancient patterns. A series of motifs are also intra-text citations, which in fact are made in the text itself. Like the same sentence as the Slash House or the Old Man in the Blind Owl. The best form of aesthetic motif is something that happens with the combination of these two. In fact, we become familiar with the inline text motif and, with the outside of the textual text, we are engaging more audience in the meaning of the novel. The best article I found in my Persian, what is this motif and how it is formed is an article written by Mr. Mohammad Taghavi and Elham Dehghan.

Jafarzadeh: This is what you mentioned, and Mr. Shahsavari, along with those explanations, is, incidentally, in the same poem, in the same poem. That is, if we had talked about the differences before, here there are quite a lot of commons here. You see, when you listen to Mozart’s sentences, if you do not know whether this symphony is written by motorists, you will identify the structure of the sentences that are not composers, and that is, the signature is clear. This is an important part of the work. That is the same in literature. There is a signature, that is, you, for example, if you read the prose of Golestan, you will soon realize Abraham Golestan. Incidentally, we use the prose very much in classic European compositions. Perhaps this is not a bad idea, because the compositional vocabulary usually creates the impression that the composer is a composer. While this is not the case, European classical singing is at all a matter of writing. That is, the composer leaves a sheet of paper ahead of him and begins to write music. As a result, the term is repeatedly used, for example, as Mozart’s prose.

This is Bach’s prose. At the beginning we said that we will get somewhere in Persian music, I think it’s here: in Iranian music, which is not so common in music, and most of the music is based on playing, there is a reference in the name of the row. . The row is basically a series of snippets with a series of distinct motifs. It has become, for example, 150 years without exaggeration to the unconscious collective of Iranian musician musicians. Because all these rhythmic patterns are an unbreakable part of the country’s musical mechanism. Now, the creation of music in Iran, even if it is not based on writing, because of the narrative style of each artist of that particular reference point, could have produced a form of musical prose that brought.

For example, when we are entering the chamber, we have an epic expectation.

Jafarzadeh: other than this; When you say chamber, the chamber is a form of distance. More general than I’m referring to. Other than that overall, the way of personalizing those distances, i.e., how they are executed, also manifests the artist’s way of thinking and creates something like personal prose. It’s not just in our music, which is also found in any other antique music. See the Indian rhubarb, the African myths.

These are all based on a memory of art, that actually these are kinds of archetypes, but every artist has his own manner of storytelling, that is he has his own prose. It’s interesting to tell you, even what we know as modern music, probably when it comes to listening, it  is supposed to be an avant-garde music and a line breaker to escape from archetypes and stereotypes. Since 1920 up to now, I mean its summit years of creation, it has been filled up with stereotypes that have turned to new archetypes. That is, the music, that was essentially based on familiarizing and establishing a new plan, shaped the concepts over a hundred year which have become the memory of contemporary music, and now it is based on the stereotypes that the prose of today’s composers is affected by that.

So time is very influential here.

Jafarzadeh: Undoubtedly the time has been effective. I think that in the literature, this has happened in some way.

These factors are involved in the formation of these shapes and types of motifs.

Shahsavari: The same process that he has said is also in the literature. Now if you bring the old vender in your novel, you have entered a fixed indication of another text in your own text. Sadegh Hedayat changed the symbol of the sage old man in his text to the vender old man, that is to say, familiarization. But now, the vender old man has become a sign of a nation in Iranian sub consciousness.

But the argument that I want Mrs. Sadeqi to mention is that how much does the taste of the artist affect the selection of a repeating element? Let me make a more tangible example. I think the author’s gender, her repetitive elements, and her stimulus in the text, are different from the masculine text. If we want to look at its examples, we see its differences. Maybe many will disagree with this view. But I myself have discovered this. If we want to look at the poetry world, Forough Farrokhzad’s poetry will never be mistaken with Shamlou’s poetry. His motifs are different. You can never go to the Forough’s motifs with the Shamlou’s motifs. Especially in motif poetry, it even has a more important function.

Jafarzadeh: For example, Ghazaleh Alizadeh will not be confused with anyone else.

Excelent, Ghazaleh Alizadeh was a very good example. For example, how the fiction world of Ghazaleh Alizadeh is confused with the fiction world of a different author. I want to say this, how much do these components affect the appearance of motifs in the literary text?

Sadeghi: look, because of the nervous structure, the body’s nervous system, the formation of the brain, from the very moment of birth, since the woman is formed as a foetus in her mother’s abdomen, the structure of her organ is formed with two X’S, and the structure of a male organ is formed with an x and a y. Since the creation of the foetus, this different structure of the body has turned into some cultural difference for them over time, which affects their worldview and even their social role. So in this view and this approach they say that everyone with his own biological experience creates an opus. As a result, when a woman from the very moment of her birth, whose gender is female and later takes the role of a women in culture, first, maybe she was female, but later due to the cultural issues, she becomes a woman. Certainly her point of view toward women, even if she does not talk about women’s issues, affect that. Because her experience of life is an experience that if, for example, like Brigis Killian becomes famous, she is facing with questions like  why she has not given birth so far, and certainly the social behavior toward women is different from men. Even if a woman has got the same job as a man, they will not be treated equally, and this has a historical root. Because in terms of the formation of organs and the secretion of hormones and the social roles that the history put on women’s shoulders, women’s position in terms of culture has been so different from a man that even small changes have been made to the structure of the brain due to the cultural context. Among them, women’s gray matters are more than men, and males’ white brain tissue is more than women’s, and so on. So definitely the semblance and the meaning coincide. Meaning is what is inside of a person and it shapes his view to the world around him. The semblance is what the person writes and derives from his mental structure. No matter how someone wants to pretend that he writes like Ghazaleh Alizladeh, he will not be able to, because the biological experience of each individual belongs to himself. The reason that Alizadeh’s fiction world is not in our everyday life and is a very decorative world is because of her view to the world around her. Consequently, with this view and approach that is contrary to the notion of structuralism that the text is important and the other things like the author’s view does not matter, the author, the text and the reader are all three main parts of the study, and without any of these three, we cannot read the text and consequently, at the end when a motif is to be chosen, surely Hedayat is not just a name. He is an X and Y who is in the cultural context of the society in which his experience has been gained and has become Sadegh Hedayat, and now he is looking at his own society from his experiences, and, for example, his negative and disappointing view is due to the fact that he does not have any hope to the community. Well, of course, someone who has no hope for his own society to change and improve, for example, may choose the old vender man when he wants to choose a motif. But another author, for example, if he considers himself politically active and wants to change, looks more hopefully to the world around him. His motif is definitely not something like old vender man. He may choose a motif like a tree that forms the feeling or the meaning of liveliness and growing. As a result, the nature of the writer and his life and his views all certainly affect the formation of his literary work. That is why we say that the content and form, even in language, and not literary, are consistent. Now there’s a lot to be said about this consistency. Because it is very detailed theoretically. But I would just like to say that this consistency is not the way I am talking about and writing my words like a tree, and put it in the name of a concrete poetry. This is not necessarily the case. There are different forms of this consistency. And the formation of words in the form of a tree is merely part of a type of consistency. For example, I used to work specifically on Ibrahim Golestan’s work, because of his particular style, it was very interesting to me to see how, for example, the form and content in his work could be matched. I was surprised by the result I gained. I saw that in most of his work, for example, “Shadow Hunt,” that four different stories with four different motifs, have the same theme. Thematic structure and semantic structure of his work were the same from the beginning to the end. But he used different motifs. So, in a way that, for example, one can think he has been dealt with different stories and topics. But they all referred to one thing. None of it was different from the other one. Because one may think that the author has repeated himself in various ways, but this repetition has been a significant repetition. Meaningful repetition, like the Persian patterns that are repeated on the fabric, but in the literature, this repetition is not necessarily the repetition of semblances and structures. This can happen with the rules and forms of literature.

I think when it comes to motifs, history and geography should be involved. That is, it seems the history and geography where the author lives in, is directly influencing the motif he chooses. For example, the literature before our revolution was influenced by ideological literature and its political ideals and it shapes the motifs of that period, as if everything is now devoid of meanings, and moves toward the pure meaningless …

Sadeghi: Do you think there is no meaning?

It seems there is no meaning anyway. We are all moving towards a meaningless and elimination of meaning from all that we have already made sense to them. Maybe the motifs are different now. If, for example, Mr. Shahsavari looks at the story of Ibrahim Golestan, Houshang Golshiri and Hossein Sanapoor, and derives the motifs of their works, how much do historical and geographical factors affect these trends?

Shahsavari: You see, there are three components, note that these geographic factors also affect the reader. We make our readings based on our time and place conditions. It is possible that a realist-socialist text, for example, Karim Keshavarz or Ali Ashraf Darvishian, for example, would be a revolutionary text in the 40’s, now it’s humorously called paying much attention to the poor. But I think that the discussion that Jung has discussed and here we are talking about, is beyond the point that you are mentioning. I told you, self-conscious, individual subconscious, and collective subconscious. That is, beyond the time and place. That is, it has a wider range from time and place.

So the language is in its subcategory.

Shahsavari: Exactly it is. Because, in any case, the language in the novel is a structural element. If not, we all were talking in one language.

Although this thing, which we now see as a commonly used story language, is very different with what Ibrahim Golestan has been doing.

Shahsavari: Well, on that period, Ibrahim Golestan and Bozorg Alawi had different language. It’s different from Hedayat that he was a mastership for them and with people who are in their own time. It’s different from Al Ahmad too. That’s very natural.

Can the language element and the approach of using language for each writer be considered the motif of that author?

Shahsavari: I have defined it for you. Based on these things. In the literature, I defined the motif. Any recurring element that causes an impact of the theme on the audience.

So it includes language too.

Shahsavari: Yes, it will be. That means definitely. Only a damage is occurred to the fiction. Because we have a strong poetry tradition, we always base our entire structure on the language.

Definitely, poetry happens in the language.

Shahsavari: Yes, it happens in the language. The same tradition enters a part of literature. It is interesting that the authors of the modern literature like Dehkhoda, Jamalzadeh and Hedayat did not have this totalitarian view to the language. But from the place where it was originally started, that is Golestan, language became important. Of course, he did not theorize the issue and did not insist on it. The 60s was the culmination of this look. Golshiri and Baraheni were the theorists of this view of literature.

It’s probably a motif in the history of fiction …

Jafarzadeh: Dr. Baraheni repeatedly used the word “linguistic”.

Shahsavari: Mr. Golshiri has explicitly stated that every writer is a defeated poet. Because he was like that. Baraheni wrote poetry himself. This causes that all elements of the structure comes down to the language. In our fiction, we have a very wrong expression that everyone owns a language, we say that he is stylist. When we want to refer to the Golestan style, we say “Golestan language” or “Al-Ahmad language”.

Or, for example, we say Baraheni language.

Shahsavari: While style is all structural elements. Of course, these are the authors who are stylist. I do not mean they are not stylist. But their style is not just in their language. Let me say two hints and finish this discussion. Today, if you say to a young writer that you are a failed poet, he would laugh at you. Because writers who started their work from the eighties have no nostalgia for poetry. Because I work with them. When I tell them that Golshiri has said this once, they become surprised.  It has happened that I’m saying now. But the tradition is still going on. Second, linguistics is one of Plat’s greatest enemies. One of the most important reasons we do not have a genre is the domination of the language monster on our literature.

In the works of Ibrahim Golestan, Houshang Golshiri and Reza Baraheni, it’s noticed that they have been paying a great deal of attention to the language and the most important motif in the work of these writers is that language.

Shahsavari: Sure. Because their view to the literature is this.

Jafarzadeh: Sorry, because Mr. Shahsavari has said this application of language is due to our poetry history, now a question was formed in my mind. In European languages, the history of the story is much deeper than poetry, because of its history in ancient Greece, but this language exists in an extended way, perhaps more than Golestan and Al Ahmad in works of Joyce. There is in Celine too. That means you are dealing with writers that they also speak while telling stories. Reading Joyce in English which is not our first language is very difficult for us.

Hemingway is the same.

Jafarzadeh: Yet Hemingway chooses a simple language. Because English is my third language, still I can read Hemingway. But when it comes to Joyce, you got stuck on the first page to see what he said. That is, it’s not primarily the grammatical structure of English, which we, third world people, have studied.

Shahsavari: In this case, in my sense, this definition is a conditional condition. There are no two conditions.

Jafarzadeh: Its opposite is not true.

Shahsavari: Yes because any kind or look or now style or anything artistic in all arts, is definitely the same in music. Criticism is one of the dominant discourses. It means may be a part of the novel linguistic. It’s very clear that this does not mean that every slang has a dominant plot. This is funnier.

Jafarzadeh: The plot will be fine.

Shahsavari: The plot will be fine. It’s not like that at all. So those kinds of novels that are certain are the novels that does not contain the big plot. There is no big plot. Joyce is the same.

Jafarzadeh: For example, in Ulysses, is this happening?

Shahsavari: It turns out that it has not happened. Because Joyce did not write based on the big plot. He wrote a literary work. In the literary work, personality is preferred on the plot.

Sadeghi:  I will appreciate you if tell us the definition of the plot.

Shahsavari: In the classical definition, plot is the timing and the reason of the story. The definition of Plot in the character-driven novel is this: why and how to apply the personality.

But I discussed the language because of the prominent authors of the Iranian fiction, and if we want to choose a specific motif in the fiction of Iran, it would be the language.

Shahsavari: It shows itself more in language. Nevertheless, I repeat it again, two of our stylist writers, Ahmad Mahmoud and Esmail Fassih, have their own languages. You think that Ahmad Mahmoud has no language? He has his own language, but more eloquent.

What has been emphasized by the professors of fiction is, incidentally, the language. Try to get your own personal language. Your personal language means that you probably have a personalized markup system, a personal cause and effect system, and a simple and systematic repetitive system. If you reach this, it’s as if you’ve come up with a motif that is another characteristic of your own and will keep you permanent in the history of literature. Perhaps now it is the most basic and comprehensive definition of Iranian fiction. That is, story writers have come and streamlined, Mr. Golestan, Dervishi, Golshiri and Barahani have come and done these things, and they have really emphasized that we should get to that individual’s face. But the question that arises is, if what’s going to be such a writer’s death and reaches this point, then what will be the theme of innovation and lust in his lifetime?

Shahsavari: This is precisely one of the flaws I take. One of the great damage of structuralism is this. That is, decreasing structural components into the language, which is given. And it is the reasons for our own literature inadequacy and that it is not diverse and do not attract the general audience to himself.

We have no genre, anymore.

Shahsavari: It is done. In fact, you do not have any genre.

That is, this kind of view is kiss the death for genre.

Shahsavari: You are right. You have a good description of the literature. I did not violate any of your words in my talk. I said that a serious criticism is levelled at your description. And that was the right description.

Sadeghi: My feeling is that we use the word language more as a speech. Speech means the linguistic form that a writer uses in his work. While I think that language is the same as our mental structure, which forms our speech and our cognition is expressed through language. Language is not just a statement. That is why the linguistic storytelling literature has happened when the mental structure is reflected more prominently through speech. But in general, the story builds on two elements based on new perspectives. Events and realities. The Realities can be divided into personality and place, and the event is the same as the plot. The story is formed accordingly. In fact, if we say that there is a semblance and a meaning, and both the semblance and the meaning are in the heart of the language, the semblance is expressed as the style of the spoken word of the writer, and the meaning is created by events and realities, so the semblance and meaning, both of which exist in the heart of language (the human intellectual system), they establish the framework of the text so that they can execute the themes and, for instant, the motifs. As a result, I think that if we want to criticize that our literature has been torn down by language, I took this from your words, it can’t be right. Because we can have silent cinema, and images shape the structure of a film. But literature whether story or poetry, without language, seems to me, it’s impossible to form. As human knowledge of the world is formed on the basis of linguistic structure, as well as language structure based on the capabilities of the human mind, so the story is also based on linguistic capabilities. Now some of the works decrease language capabilities to speech, and some of them forms cognition through language. That is language as a symbolistic system. Based on your words, one should ask which language-centric story we are considering, for example, Ms. Azadeh and her author. We about to say that the plot has gone away. Well, the plot is not just a cause and effect relationship to events. Meanwhile, only one of the characteristics of the story is the presence of the event or the plot, and other elements of it are realities that are to be found in the story through the language. Other than language is not possible. Meanwhile, in recent theories, the way that we are processing the realities is shaping an event or plot, then this cause and effect relationship is an old view that leads us to false judgment in fiction. It cannot be said that the new literature does not have a plot, so the story is damaged.

Yes, I also think that we need to talk in more exemplifying terms.

Shahsavari: I did that. Firstly, in my definition of plot that referred to timing, nowhere it has said that time should be linear. Speaks about the time-proportion of the story-components. This is the famous definition of Forrester. The next thing you talked about, well, is a very obvious point. That is, if we say that we are removing the language, it turns out that we will not have literature.

Sadeghi: Perhaps you mean a new type of plot.

Shahsavari: I think I’ve made a clear definition of the plot. Both classical and modern.

Sadeghi: No, you are saying that it is weakening the plot, we cannot do anything that violates our law, but we can change our definition and our point of view.

Shahsavari: Of course, I must say that it’s like …

Jafarzadeh: Your words are now more closely related to the position you have toward a specific mode of writing. It means that you are reacting to a form of story writing. This does not look like a theoretical generalization. For example, every time you take an example, I imagined the Finnegan’s awakening as a counterexample, and I felt that it had a very detailed plot and that its language was very complex.

Shahsavari: Of course, almost everyone says that it cannot be read.

Jafarzadeh: I also do not claim to have read and understood it, but according to the explanations, criticisms and analyzes that have been written on it and we all read, it is clear that it has a strong plot and a complicated language. This is because I imagined that you are now somehow taking a stand for a specific mode of writing, although there are successful examples in the world, and in our contemporary literature may have been imitated, and this is not pleased you.


Sadeghi: I feel our fiction is now more event-oriented and not language-oriented. If it’s fashion, I want to talk about its examples here.

Shahsavari: I had a completely academic discussion. I said we should not decrease the structure or especially style to the language. When we say that Golshiri or Golestan are stylists, it does not mean that they only own the language. With this conclusion, young writers think that they must pursue the language if they want to become an original writer.

Sadeghi: You take this stand and you want it…


Sadeghi: In fact, you want to say that the style is not due to his language.

Shahsavari: Yes, while I think, ok, yes. In fact, we are unwillingly doing this, or if this is not the case, correct me. When we speak about the language, we means prose. Grammatical structure of sentences.

Sadeghi: Consider the simplest grammatical structure: the subject, the verb, the object. Well, this is a grammatical structure. But this is not language. Those words that you choose will create different sentences and transmit different meanings.

Shahsavari: Sure. When those who are knowledgeable in literature, are gathered, they mean prose when they are talking about language.

Sadeghi: Yes I see. My critique was precisely the fact that this misunderstanding leads to invert. That’s why I strongly disagree with the use of the word of the language in the way that writers usually use.

Shahsavari: Incidentally, this is somehow inappropriate, they do not have sensitivity to the language. I want to re-emphasize, I do not mean spreading of language irregularly.

*You were at the Mr. Baraheni’s workshop and you know that he emphasized the language of the text, and in fact related it to the author’s characteristic, posing this as a serious indicator, because in any case, the Baraheni’s argument and the type of language he’s looking at, both in poetry and in the story is an important discussion, and in his students we can clearly see what the achievement has been.

Jafarzadeh: What I can say is relying on my teenage memory, we are talking about the solar years 72 and 73. As I remember, this topic of language was a big issue. It was very much discussed. The topic of language was a serious issue in the workshop. But definitely it did not mean that language is everything.

*Or, in the case of a motif, it was very much considered.


Jafarzadeh: According to what I have in my memory and can be wrong, Dr. Baraheni emphasized the word “linguistics”. He had translated the word into the language. It was interesting to him. I remember this. As a 17-18 year-old child, I can remember that the word was very much mentioned. But that did not mean that his whole literary mindset was about talking about language. Guys who became professional writers did not get involved with language. You see that many of them, if they were attracted to the language, they were also event-oriented. They did other works too, which means there were so many other things in their classes.

*What do you think has been the motif of the story in Iranian fiction in recent decades? If you want to sum up and tell us the final conclusion of the discussion. What are the dominant motifs of fiction in Iran?

Jafarzadeh: Language is certainly one of them.

*One of its most important ones it can be.

Jafarzadeh: There is no doubt about that. We discussed it and agreed.

*What is its dominant one?


Jafarzadeh: One of the main topics that was the focus of the discussion was certainly linguistic. But obviously I do remember that we were talking about characterization. We talked about the situation a lot. It was much talked about time. For example, in the works of Ghazaleh Alizadeh, the issue of the form of human relations was one of the dominant motifs. It seems to me that it was very important for her to describe the form of the relationship. Now it has linguistic aspect too. It was very special. But I think the topic that matters to her very much was the kind of the relationship.

*Refer to the latter. Children of the 70s.


Jafarzadeh: Each of them went different ways.

*Can specific motifs be pursued in their work?

Jafarzadeh: It’s hard but it can be found, it’s probably one of the reasons for the lack of a distinctive motif that we’re not confronted with seventy-year-old writers that you can check out for their antique trend. That is, a writer should have a decent age and have at least 10 works written so that you can refer to the dominant motif in his work in a precise manner. For such an analysis for their works is a little early. In addition, we had a phase shift from the 70s to the 80s. The atmosphere of literature suddenly changed dramatically, one of its reason was passing away of an important part of the artists and writers of the previous generation. This led to a historic split. There was an interval between previous generation and the next generation, it took too long to find themselves. In the music, this break has happened terribly. In other arts, this is also the case. Have to wait a little. To be sure can you tell the motif of these ones? I think we should wait another 10 to 15 years.

*Ms. Sadeghi, in your opinion, what has been the dominant motif in this period?

Sadeghi: I think it cannot be as simple as that. Because in the same article that Mr. Shahsavari referred to, it was pointed out to the various cultural books written by different countries for their motifs, so if we want to do that we must gather and categorize all the books belonging to this period, and derive the motifs out of them.

Shahsavari: Yes, One of them had six volumes.

Sadeghi: American motif culture, for example. Four main motifs in a particular period. That is, each period may have its own motifs. So if I want to think impromptu I can say something, but I think it’s more beautiful to say that I have not been researching in this area. For example, one of the most important motifs I can think of is the male-female relations that is so bold in Shiva Arastooei’s works. In the works of Mahsa Mohebali is very bold too.

*In the works of Zoya Pirzad is also very bold.

Sadeghi: It seems that some motifs are more important for women. For example, the dominant motif is the relationship between husband and wife, the girl and the boy, and they often shape their entire world outlook through these relationships, or in the work of male writers, in part of them, human relations has been a motif again. Some of them have tried to reflect the conditions of their society as a main motif. Some authors have created content and, with the signs they possess, have created their motifs, for example, they wanted to make that historical period tangible for us.

Shahsavari: As she said, it would be better not to talk about it when I was not deeply studied in that area, but since you asked, I am more or less familiar with the literature of the past two decades due to my literature judging and executing novel workshops. I think there are two major motifs. One thing that has been said about women, I called it “Fatigue of the persona” or “the tragedies of middle aged women.” But if we want to talk a bit more theoretically, I mean women that are tired of what the community has defined for them, being mother and wife, and they want to give space to their shadow. The most famous of it is the work of Mrs. Pirzad, who I saw was its 73 or 72 publication. The book “I Turn off the Lights”, was amazing.

Sadeghi: There is a hope. Indeed, it depends on the number of its circulation.

Shahsavari: Thousands are not certainly less. Even I think it’s more.

Sadeghi: Because they say the actual number with the number of publishers does not coincide.

Shahsavari: Now, if we are to say they are lying, there is something else. Indeed we say that God willing, they are right. I called my next motif “A Past That Does not Pass.” Which is more structural. The writers of the present regard themselves as the immediate result of the past. So the novel starts from the present time, but most of it goes through the past. For example, the novel “Probably I’m missing” by Sarah Salar.

*To the extent that I come up with a definition, and that repeating element, and what’s its application in storytelling, and its achievement for narrative, and what has been repeated. Unless you think there is a debate that can still be better for storytelling.

Shahsavari: I say this to ourselves. The definition that Mr. Payandeh has given and the translation he has made is “theme”, refers to any unifying element that somehow links the components or elements of the story and reinforces the theme of the story. That is, unity is important in it, it strengthens the components or elements of the story and the theme. Three fundamental features.

Sadeghi: As a conclusion, we can say that the topic is very subjective, like death and the theme is a degree more objective than the topic. For example, death is good or bad. The motif is more objective than topic and theme, for example, a vender that has no place to sleep, died because of the cold weather. This main motif can be manifested in various forms, for example, the death of a vender due to the cold weather, because of shortage of clothing, because of hunger, or because of the heavy rain that he had drenched and made him exhausted, then different interpretations or in another words, different morphemes can be used to repeat the motif.


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