deconstruction: literary criticism

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This ppt will help you to comprehend " Deconstructive criticism" which is used in literary analysis.


  • 1. ByIngrid- MelodyEnglish Letters, Universitas Ma Chung

2. Deconstructions view of language(Derrida)language is not the reliable tool ofcommunication 3. Deconstructions theory of languagebased on the belief that language is much moreslippery and ambiguous.e.g. (old saying)Time flies like an arrow = Times passed quickly.Time = nounflies = verblike an arrow = adv. clause 4. e.g. (additional meanings 1)Time flies like an arrow = Get out your stopwatchand time the speed of flies as youd time anarrows flight.Time = verbflies = an arrow = adv. clause 5. e.g. (additional meanings 2)Time flies like an arrow = Time flies are fond ofarrows (or at least of one particular arrow).Time flies = nounlike = verban arrow = obj. 6. Slippery quality of language changes in tone of voice and emphasis meaning changes dramatically 7. e.g. 8. The formula of basic element ofcommunication 9. Word as linguistic signe.g.Picture a person standing in an open fieldpointing to the only tree in sight.signifiers (single) = this tree is bigsignified (clear) = only one tree 10. Communication is such a complicatedand uncertain thing deconstruction look at the sentencesambiguities, even when the sentence seems, atfirst glance, as clear and specific. any given signifier can refer to any number ofsignifieds at any given moment. 11. Language for deconstruction language consists only of chains of signifiers. language is nonreferential because it refers to the playof signifiers of which language itself consist. language is what forms us and there is no way to getbeyond it. language is wholly ideological language is ground of being language has implications for subjectivity (humanbeing) 12. The important characteristics inlanguage its play of signifiers continually defers, orpostpones, meaning. the meaning seems to have the result of thedifferences by which we distinguish one signifierfrom another. 13. Binary opposition hierarchies the pair is always privileged, or consideredsuperior to the other. examine the ways which two members of theopposition share some things in common. 14. Deconstruction as poststructuralisttheory it emerged in the wake of structuralismspopularity it constitutes a reaction against structuralismsorderly vision of language and humanexperience. 15. Deconstructing Literature 16. The three main points weve discussed:For deconstruction,1. Language is dynamic, ambiguous, and unstable,continually disseminating2. Existence has no center, no stable meaning, nofixed ground3. Human being are fragmented battlefields forcompeting ideologies whose only identitiesare the ones we invent and choose to believe. 17. SoFor deconstruction, literature is as dynamic,ambiguous, and unstable as the languageof which it is composed.Literary text, like all texts, consist of amultiplicity of overlapping, conflictingmeanings in dynamic, fluid relation toone another and to us. 18. There are two reasons to deconstructliterature:1. to reveal the texts undecidability and/or2. to reveal the complex operations of theideologies of which the text is constructed. 19. Deconstructive critics believe meaning in literatureis created during the act of reading a text. It is precisely while the reader is reading thatmoments of meaning are created, but inevitablygive way to even more meanings, each newreading creating its own unique meaning adinfinitum. This is why Tyson says art and literature is "aseething cauldron of meanings in flux," becausethere can be a large range of meanings within atext therefore the ultimate meaning is undecidable. 20. Undecidability means that reader and textalike are inextricably bound withinlanguages dissemination of meanings.That is, reader and text are interwoventhreads in the perpetually working loomof language 21. How can we prove undecidability:1. note all the various interpretations- of characters,events, images, and so on- the text seems to offer;2. show the ways in which these interpretationsconflict with one another;3. show how these conflicts produce still moreinterpretations, which produce still moreconflicts, which produce still moreinterpretations;4. use steps 1, 2, 3, to argue for the textsundecidability 22. The following two questions summarize thetwo deconstructive approaches discussedabove:1. How we can use the various conflictinginterpretations a text produces (the play ofmeanings) or find the various ways inwhich the text doesnt answer the questionsit seems to answer, to demonstrate theinstability of language and theundecidability of meaning? 23. 2. What ideology does the text seem topromote-what is its main theme-and howdoes conflicting evidence in the text showthe limitations of that ideology?We can usually discover a texts overtideological project by finding the binaryopposition(S) that structure the texts maintheme(s). 24. Keep in mind that not all deconstructive critics willinterpret the same work in the same way, even if theyfocus on the same ideological projects in the text. As in every yield, even expert practitioners disagree.Our goal is to use deconstruction to help enrich ourreading of literary text, to help us see some importantideas they illustrate that we might not have seen soclearly or so deeply without deconstruction, and to helpus see the ways in which language blinds us to theideologies it embodies. 25. As we noted earlier, because deconstruction helps us understandthe hidden operations of ideology, it can be a useful tool for anycritic interested in examining the oppressive role ideology canplay in our lives. 26. Questions for further practice1. What does this ideological conflict suggest about the difficultiesinvolved in the attempt to avoid stereotypes or about thedifficulty any oppressed group might have asserting its ownidentity in the face of prejudice?2. How does Kate Chopins The Storm (1898) forward itstheme of the importance of sexual fulfillment for women,which seems to be the storys overt ideological project? Howdoes the texts use of nature imagery and the standard fairy-talehappy ending both promote and undermine this project? Whatdoes this ideological conflict imply about the storys attempt totranscend the nineteenth-century social values of the culture itrepresents? 27. 3. How might we account for the apparent failure of theAmerican public to recognize this very differentreading of the poem?4. Then show how the novel deconstructs this ideologicalproject by finding, in the text, the ways in which naturedoes not live up to this definition. Speculate on thereasons why this ideological conflict is present in thistext.5. How might William Blakes The Little Black Boy(1789) provide an example of deconstructions notionof undecidability? Specifically, how does the poemseem to promote the mutually exclusive themes ofracial equality, the superiority of white people to blackpeople, and the superiority of black people to whitepeople? What are the implications of this apparentideological conflict? 28. sources Tyson, Lois Critical Theory Today.pdf