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Transcript of Deconstruction Analysis
1. A text, an artwork, and a musical score can have infinitely many meanings because of the subjective nature of words, images, sounds, and experiences.
2. There are layers of meanings, and these layers may be different and/or contradictory to one another.
3. No meanings are more true or more correct than each other because there are no absolute comparisons or "centers."
4. An author, artist or musician cannot convey one message, and the message that they are trying to convey cannot be derived from the original works because of the previous concepts.
5. Since the author, artist or musician cannot convey a message or messages, interpretations and meanings are left entirely up to the reader/viewer/audience.
* There are many interpretations
*There are no comparisons/objectivity
*There are layers/contradictions
* There is no ONE message
So, deconstruction looks a lot like this:
Derrida's most famous quote, and considered to be at the crux of his theory, "There is nothing outside the text," means that the emphasis in a text is placed on the limitless context of the text, and the vast experiences that readers bring to the reading. The strength of Deconstruction analysis is not in the tearing apart but in the building of new connections from bits not formerly part of the dialectic. Derrida believed Western society places an overt emphasis on text, because written language meets our need for immediacy, as opposed to the oral tradition/speech. Derrida believed that logos is superior to the written word, as it has a purer meaning.
Father of Deconstruction
Deconstructing Robinson Crusoe
William Defoe's character Crusoe is seen as little more than a child, when first he is shipwrecked. This observation not only refers to Crusoe's initial despair and fright as he hid among the trees but, also, to the nature of his helplessness.
Further study emphasizes his time on the island as an evolution from Crusoe's childlike naivete to self-sufficient master of his domain. Religious readers of the day saw Crusoe's conversion as a sign of spirital maturity and justification for Crusoe's successful rescue. Another critical view, however, considers the few moral qualms Crusoe seems to have in the way he deals with the natives and his two slaves. This contradicts the presumed "maturity" or goodness of Crusoe.
John Cage detached music from their sounds and treated them as individual units. He questioned what constituted music. Why is piano music better than the sound of traffic or the sound of leaves falling? He was a brilliant composer of subtle and soothing sounds but is best known for his piece 4'33" in which the listeners' ear is prompted to listen to the music of a given time and space rather than sounds produced by musical instruments.
John Cage, 1912 - 1992
Differance - A word rooted in Latin and which is connected to the ideas of signs, signification, and trace.
Aporia - An insoluble contradiction or paradox in a text's meaning. In other words, contradictions, paradoxes, and stress points that emerge from the reading of the text.
Sign - Signs carry their own meanings, in addition to those given to them. This makes any sign something that is not only a signifier, but something that is signified as well.
Signification - The relationship between the sign and that which it signifies.
Denotation - Simplistic literal relationship
Connotation - The relationship affected by subjective qualities, such as culture and experience, which allows for several shades of meaning.
Trace - The origin of a word. Because all words are derived from other words, the origin doesn't exist. It was never created except reciprocally by a non-origin, the trace, which thus becomes the origin of the origin. Derrida suggests that words are inaccurate because they do not show the trace element.
Text - Not the written word, but words themselves. Since everything is expressed in words, even in our thoughts, our mind associates concepts and objects with words. Everything communicated is considered text.
Logocentrism - The concept that rather than behaving on a moral basis derived from society, and attempting to fulfill the wishes of society, we should fulfill the wishes of a singular other Any action where you favor one over another, such as spending time with one person over another,
Table of Contents:
Deconstruction in Action
Derrida seeks to combat metaphysics, which he defines as "The enterprise of returning 'strategically', 'ideally', to an origin or to a priority thought to be simple, intact, normal, pure, standard, self-identical, in order then to think in terms of deviation, complication, deterioration, accident, etc."
Stephen, Mitchell. "Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction." The New York Times Magazine, 23 Jan,. 1994. Web. 12 Oct 2013.
Taylor, Mark C. "What Derrida Really Meant." The New York Times, 14 Oct., 2004. Web. 12 Oct 2013.
Kandell, Jonathan. "Jacques Derrida, Abstruse Theorist, Dies at 74." The New York Times, 10 Oct., 2004. Web. 16 Oct 2013.
Galpin, Richard. "Erasure in Art: Destruction, Deconstruction, and Palimpsest." PhD Dissertation. London. Feb. 1998. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
Cobussen, Marcel. "Deconstruction in Music." PhD. Dissertation. University of Rotterdam (NL), 2002. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
Goodspeed-Chadwick, Julie. "Derrida's Deconstruction of Logocentrism: Implications for Trauma Studies." Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Spring 2006: www.reconstruction.eserver.org/062/goodspeed.shtml. 13 Oct 2013.
Morningstar, Chip. "How To Deconstruct Almost Anything." June 1993: www.fudco.com/chip/deconstr.html. 13 Oct 2013.
Novak, Maxamillion E. "Robinson Crusoe and the State of Nature." Ed. Michael Shinagel. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1994. 309-20. Print. Norton Critical Edition. Excerpt from Defoe and the Nature of Man. New York: Oxford UP, 1963.