“So as to give them courage we must teach people to be shocked by themselves.”
In the context of narrative fiction, ideologymay be defined as the frame of values informing the narrative. This frame installs hierarchical relationships between pairs of oppositional terms such as real vs. false, good vs. bad, and beautiful vs. ugly. These preferences may be explicitly stated in the text or remain more or less implicit. The reader can engage with the frame in variety of ways: he or she can make it explicit (and thus engage with the hierarchy discovered in the text), construct it only partially, or disregard it completely. It is always the reader who pieces together the ideology of the fiction at hand, but relevant choices invariably emerge from an interaction between three elements: reader, context and text. Theories of ideology can be categorized according to the element they stress: psychological approaches are mostly concerned with the reader, sociological analyses tend to highlight the context (including the author), and discursive inquiries focus on the actual text.