Saturday, January 15, 2011
Derrida and Deconstruction
Derrida and Deconstruction: Founded on ideas of textual description and literary analysis, the deconstructionist philosophy attempts to uncover the basic contradictions and irreconcilable ironies of a text. Developed by French post-structuralist philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1960s, deconstruction requires an in-depth examination of a text's elementary structure to identify its questionable features. Although a text may appear cohesive and cogent on the surface, it will begin to unravel after applying a deconstructionist framework to its content and organization. Despite deconstruction's novel philosophical underpinnings, its approach to literary analysis is not entirely new, but the emphasis that deconstruction places on analytic rigor is. Critics of deconstruction, however, claim that it is nothing more than intellectual nihilism, because all written works of fiction and nonfiction can be reduced to what are seemingly incompatible parts. In effect, there are no meanings to a text beyond its words, grammar, and structure. Yet if anything, deconstruction teaches writers to be bold with their prose, as it can always be deconstructed for innate contradictions, fallacies, generalizations, ironies, and prejudices.