Typology of Narrative Codes: A Post-structural Analysis of Text Encoded in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy (2008)


  • Muhammad Akram, Samina Sarwat, Minhal Riaz, Waheed Shahzad


This paper tends to explore narrative codes embedded in the text of Morrison’s novel, A Mercy (2008). For this, the present research takes Ronald Barthes model of narrative codes which consists of five different codes as primary approach while the analytical part also utilizes the theory of binary opposition as poststructuralists have proposed. Barthesian model involves five narrative codes; Enigma, Proairetic, Semantic, Symbolic and Cultural code. Barthes argues that to understand the mystery, plot structure, binary opposition and cultural representation in a literary text, a reader should focus on these five codes. In the light of Enigma the analytical part shows that Morrison’s text holds a complex and to some extent odd narration. While the plot structure is narrated through various voices and does not follow a linear series of events.  However, the symbolic inquiry reveals the ways in which women suffer through threatened, violence and patriarchy; black life restrained under stereotype social commands and the abuses of slavery.  However, from cultural, gender discrimination prevailing in society compelled females to consider they are stigma. Thus, the entire discussion aptly concludes thatBathesian model is remained throughout a powerful tool in analyzing Morrison’s novel to conduct the structural and thematic analysis.