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A critical linguistic reading into the appeal of Gibran Khalil Gibran's The Prophet


Al-Khazraji, Nidaa Hussain Fahmi (2014) A critical linguistic reading into the appeal of Gibran Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Abstract / Synopsis

This study analyses the appeal of The Prophet (1923), the widely read best-known masterpiece of the Lebanese writer, poet, artist and philosopher Gibran Khalil Gibran (1882- 1931). Gibran was a key figure in the history of modern Arabic and English literature in the early 20th. Century. Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is a volume of twenty-eight prosepoems full of wise sayings, representing wisdom of a prophetic quality. It has not been out of print since it was first published, and has sold more than ten million copies in English language alone. It has also been translated to more than twenty-five languages. Using a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach that incorporates a Positive Discourse Analysis (PDA) perspective, the study analyses the text at macro and micro levels and identifies aspects of the book that contribute to its appeal. The findings show that universal themes and global messages are explicitly or implicitly addressed in the discourse of The Prophet. The universality of the issues dealt with, as well as the open, realistic manner in which they are addressed, make them relatable to readers. These themes and messages arise out of dialogues or narration involving the protagonist/author, who is portrayed as a godlike figure and font of wisdom. From this figure, positive lessons and exhortations are offered, their messages of hope adding to the appeal of the book. The CDA-PDA perspective also discusses the positive/negative ideologies in the text and the part they play in the appeal of the book. Finally, the study looks at the use of metaphors to see how they aesthetically construct thinking, beliefs and social behavior. The book thus owes its appeal to the reflection of Gibran’s ideology and thoughts, and his grasp of life’s complexities as well as the need for a message of hope and utopian ideals to combat the reality of a world that is far from ideal. This discursive and textual analysis of what is largely poetic text is an interesting exercise in applying a CDA-PDA framework to a literary text. It shows how works of arts are important to society and culture by transmitting ideology. Constitutions of cultural power are generated from the structures of meaning at work, and mechanisms that operate in the poetic text generate ideological effects.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subject: Discourse analysis, Narrative
Subject: Gibran, Khalil - Criticism and interpretation
Call Number: FBMK 2014 22
Chairman Supervisor: Associate Professor Mardziah Hayati Abdullah, PhD
Divisions: Faculty of Modern Language and Communication
Depositing User: Hasimah Adam
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2015 09:29
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2016 15:34
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