Literary Criticism : ' Not Just A Pretty Face '

2609 Words Dec 9th, 2014 11 Pages
Alyshia Sechoka
Dr. Catherine Cox
History of Literary Criticism
2 December 2014
Not Just a Pretty Face
Despite how the word may sound, deconstruction means to deconstruct, not to destroy. Deconstruction is always simultaneously affirming and undoing. Deconstruction refers to a technique for reading and analyzing texts developed by Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, and others; this, in turn, is connected to a set of philosophical theories about language and meaning. As a result of the popularity of this technique and theory, the word “deconstruct” is often used as a synonym for criticizing or demonstrating the incongruity of a position. It is a way to interpret literary, religious, and legal texts as well as philosophical ones, and was adopted by French feminist theorists as a way to make clearer the deep male bias that was embedded in European literature and traditions.
In order to deconstruct a text, one must take it apart along the structural “fault lines” (IEP) created by ambiguities that are fundamental in one or more of its key themes in order to reveal the contradictions that make the text possible. For example, Derrida, in “Plato’s Pharmacy,” deconstructs Socrates’ criticism of written word. He contends that it suffers not only from inconsistencies internally because of Socrates analogy between memory and writing, but also because his ideas come to us only through his written word. Many deconstructive arguments center on the analysis of its oppositions. The person…
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