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In his Course in General Linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure differentiates language and speech by explaining language to be social and speech to be individual Rivkin 76 That is language is the means through which communication and convention are established while speech is the way in which the individual utilizes language as a means of expression of thought By presenting linguistics as related to semiology Saussure provides an effectively systematic method with which to view social sciences He believes language is concrete and linguistic signsare realities that have their seat in the brain Rivkin 76-77 To Saussure language is not something that can be manipulated it is a given Yet the paradoxical contrast between a words value and its signification seemingly allows for the opportunity to warp the conceptual relationship between signifier and signified Saussure states that this is not an expression of the linguistic fact in its essence and fullness meaning a words potential value though necessary to its intrinsic signification cannot be considered a substitute for the indispensable signification which exists as a fixed notion Rivkin 86 Yet Saussures theory was published post-mortem and he never had the opportunity to read Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49 It is Pynchons intention to assert that communication and convention are not social as a result of individual interpretation Pynchon conveys this theme by creating a world in which all signs by means of Saussures characterization seem to be familiar to the extent that the entire world is foreign That is the line between signification and value is so vague that one knows not what Pynchon intends and therefore cannot dissect the story This parallels Viktor Shklovskys theory of Art as Technique in that Pynchon juxtaposes the familiar and the unfamiliar in his novel Language is the means through which the story is communicated but defamiliarization is Pynchons technique In this sense Pynchons method is a combination of Saussures Course in General Linguistics and Shklovskys Art
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