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Critical practice is a book by Catherine Belsey. The book requires psychoanalysis in order to come to a reasonable and cogent content or thematic based conclusion. The book is enriched with several thematic constituents and ideas. Most of these ideologies have clear relevance to another book by Joseph Conrad, Nostromo. The paper will describe lucidly the issues Catherine is raising in her book, as well as the subjects of these issues. The paper will later give a succinct outline on how these issues she discusses relate to Conrad’s book.

One of the most important issues Catherine is addressing in her book is liberation, an ideology that affects different societies globally. She talks of liberation from what she terms as oppressive modernism or modernity aesthetic domains. She expresses, using imagery, what modernism has contributed to the today’s society. She talks of opportunistic leaders who use modernity to tyrannize their desperate subjects. The same issue is applicable in the Nostromo by Conrad. Senor Gould a native Costaguanero, in the book, owns a large silver mining in Sulaco. Conrad reveals that the character is tired of the dominant political instability and corruption in the region. Gould’s focus on bringing back stability to Costaguana depends on the project, Ribierist. However, the plan is shuddered by totalitarianism and misrule of self-serving dictators in the area.

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The irony is that the silver mines become the root cause of war between the two neighboring societies. Senor Gould becomes adamant that the silver mines are the epitome of development in the region and could not be lost that way. She trusts in Nostromo, a normal citizen in the region to fight the enemy who wants to take away the mines. Nostromo is an Italian and his name is from two words, ‘nostro’, and ‘uomo’. The two joined form nostro uomo meaning corruption. His policy in his action to exploit the silver mines is simple; he uses the threat and civilization or modernity method. He is a commanding and respected figure in the Sulaco. Most of the Europeans respect him due to his intelligence and the way he uses psychology to get what he want. He uses the radical elements present in the theory of Ferdinand de Saussure (Belsey 3). The theory proposes that the common sense is mainly discursively and ideologically generated or constructed. The theory is rooted in certain specific historical situations. It also operates or functions in conjunction with a given social formation (Belsey 3). Nostromo applies the same principle of common sense, as explained above, to attack their rich neighbors. This illustration is a definite example to relate the two books in their thematic constituents. Although Catherine attempts to give credit, and regard common sense so highly, she comes up with another idea that common sense sometimes tend to betray its own inadequacy. It has incoherencies, contradictions, and silence within it. This way it sometimes proves very hard to understand literary texts like Nostromo.  

Catherine also discusses the reactions and attitude of readers of literary articles mainly based on societal issues. She says, “If we admire the existing narrative curve of tension we may place the likes of Trollope higher than people like Tolstoy (Belsey 10). If we admire the thematic composition and organization of a book, we may place people like James Gould Cozzens higher than the ones like Lawrence. If our admiration is a form of truth, we can do neither of the above” (Belsey 10). Here Catherine tries to bring in another ideological content of the book to the subjects or readers of the novel. She is talking of people’s judgment on literary books. She talks of the first impression or interpretation that people have ones they read a literature article. This relevant in the Nostromo as illustrated below:

In Conrad’s novel, Nostromo, the first reaction of any first reader is that Nostromo is indeed a bad character, a selfish one to be clear. He exploits the mines in a bid to gain fame, which do not come after the completion of his activity. He had been used by the leaders of his country to fight for the silver mines thinking that the mentioned vision would come true. He regrets why he had been blinded by the egocentric political demagogues in his nation. He feels stupid as the novel ends. He feels consumed by resentment, which causes his corruption, and final destruction, destruction of kept silver, which everyone believes, is lost in the ocean, but he is the only one who knows it. The issue of the silver, in this context, is allegorical. Silver generally represents resources available in the country. The people like Nostromo are the normal citizens controlled by top political leaders within the nations. The exercise of power on these people takes place in a mental way such that they feel very okay carrying out or respecting the orders given by their leaders. It utilizes a lot of common sense feature, as revealed in Catherine’s book through Post-Saussurean theory that explains how common sense works. It starts from analysis of language communicated to the subjects. It then ensures that the language is not transparent so that the recipient or the subject does not literary gets what is being communicated. Nostromo is given an order to ensure that the silver mines remains under their control. These people play with his mind that he will gain the most important status in the world and fame. However, this proves futile, as he remains the same even after the successful capture and dominant control of the silver mines in their neighboring nation. He admired fame, which never came his way after his blind accomplishment of the assigned duty.

The above interpretation of the relationship of the two books is quite different from that of the normal analysis and interpretation of a literature novel. Analysis of a literature novel involves the look or search of themes, plot, imagery and historical context of the prose whereas; the analysis of the two books is mainly concerned with the application of a theories outlined in the Critical Practice by Catherine Belsey in the book , Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. It also involves psychological reasoning of Catherine’s work in order to get the ideological and subject content and apply it in Conrad’s book. Normal literature interpretation involves little thinking and reasoning of the text in relation to the immediate environment.

Just like other readers, I had to produce an immediate inner response to the two literary works after going through them. First, I responded in a stunning way at Catherine’s work and the way she thinks and uses relevant theories to come up with an amazing book of ideologies. Reading the Nostromo later provided a clear picture of Catherine’s work in real life. This way, my response provided an interpretation of the two books and their relevance, as illustrated above. 

Code: writers15

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