Unveiling Poverty in Interlock via the Key Words Semiotic Model
Literature, as a form of social expression, conveys meanings and portrays the ideology of the author through diction and symbols either verbally or in written form. Symbols and keywords repeated and given special attention in literary texts convey an author's personal conceptualisation of particular concepts. The objective of this study is to explore Abdullah Hussain's views on poverty in his novel Interlock by using the Keywords Semiotic Model. This model is formulated by integrating the Semiotic Theory of Charles Sanders Peirce, a 19th century American philosopher with the Keywords and Conceptual Theory introduced in 2005 by Mohamad Mokhtar Hassan, a Malaysian scholar. The analysis and findings reveal that three different categories of poverty, i.e., physical poverty, emotional poverty, and internal poverty are discussed by Abdullah Hussain in his novel. Of these three categories, it is physical poverty and internal poverty that are accorded the greatest importance by the author and these dominates his conceptualisation from the perspective of the Keywords Semiotic Model. In other words, keywords and symbols are used as an instrument to highlight the various faces of poverty experienced by the novel's main characters who represent the three most populous races in Malaya: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. Extrinsic factors such as the author's background, past experiences, observations, readings, ideology, vision and aspiration influenced his conceptualisation of poverty.
Keywords: Interlock, poverty, conceptualisation, symbol, diction, keywords, Abdullah Hussain
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