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Post Structuralism/ Deconstruction

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Christine Meowmeow

on 3 March 2015

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Transcript of Post Structuralism/ Deconstruction


Past experiences allow readers to interpret a text in multiple ways by filling in the gaps in a text based on factors in their life such as: actions, background, and consciousness in unique ways. This is the way a post-structuralist analyzes a text.
Post Structuralism was derived from structuralism in the 1960’s
introduced by Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 - 1913); Linguist
the idea that every word has an inherent meaning and looking for the current societal meaning and personal meaning.
mainly focused on linguistics and what
came to mind with every
Post Structuralism (1960s)
Jacques Derrida (1930 - 2004); Philosopher
• believed that meaning is always
, and a piece will never have a
set truth
or meaning.
• argued that philosophical tradition rests on arbitrary dichotomous(
binary opposition
) categories
"to give anything an identity, to say what it is, is necessarily also to say what it is not. In this sense, presence contains absence. That is, to say that a quality is present depends upon implying what is absent."
• referred to his procedure for uncovering and unsettling these dichotomies as "


understanding how language works as a system of meaning production.
Focusing on the form or structure of the literary work, and the particular use of language in the work.
Reader Response
using one’s experience to interpret an idea instead of using an author’s
We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain
We jumped never asking why
We kissed, I fell under your spell.
A love no one could deny

Don't you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can't live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

I put you high up in the sky
And now, you're not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we're ashes on the ground

Don't you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can't live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crouching in a blaze and fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

Don't you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crashing in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
And instead of using force
I guess I should've let you win
I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
I guess I should've let you win

Text Analysis
Question for Analyzing Text
Ask questions using the
"eraser" technique
which is asking questions such as, "if this wasn't a part of the text, what would the text be about?" using this there can be an infinite amount ideas within a text.
What is the problem or question that motivate the author to write a text like this what context are they writing in?
You may also ask: what
do you bring to the text when reading it? What is the truth that the author intended? Or is there multiple truths that can be inferred by the reader?
What are the motives for one or more of the character's actions, what may have made them do this?
How do the characters interact with each other and with their environment and why?
IV. Rejecting that language is transparent but rather

V. All meaning is textual and intertextual: There is no
outside of text
. We use rules, symbols and grammar to analyze.

VI. Post structuralism relies on
: It takes what appears to be meant and finds what is actually meant

VII. Texts have a
surplus of meaning
, resulting in different meanings being inevitable.

VIII. Essentially post structuralism suggests that a text exists as read. This reading is formed and conducted through mediating factors:

-Present structures of discourse.
Time it was written
-Traditions of reading.
What has been done traditionally.
-Expectations of the genre.
Traditional readings of the type of literature.
-Relations of meaning.
How it relates to meaning.

-Understanding historical relations.
How it relates to history.
-Understanding the extent.
Texts have a surplus of meaning.
-Conceptual distances.
What it is use to mean vs. what it means now
Structuralists highlight the role of symbolic systems, such as the psyche which we learned about earlier, which

Post-structuralists believe that the meaning of a word has an
arbitrary meaning
unlike positivists who believe that the word has one meaning.

The second theory of asking questions is how a Post-Structuralist would ask questions and how they come up with their questions
How does one's life experience change the way they interpret a text?
Post structuralism
is the literary theory where the text is interpreted in the readers’ own conception of reality. This is done in near infinite ways and broken down to the
limits or gaps
a text has by filling them with these individual interpretations. Symbols in a text can be directly related or unrelated to the meaning that the author implied. Something important to note is that there are
no wrong answers
when critiquing a work using a post-structuralist approach.

A post-structuralist identifies the author’s perspective and deconstructs the words and symbols used to show this perspective. This is called
-structuralism because it ignores the existence of any other literary theory, this
that any other theories exist and that the reader is ultimately the only thing that is needed for a text to be analyzed. This theory avoids scientific, philosophical and religious truth in a text, which is why it is necessary to disapprove of all other theories.
Deconstruction is based on the reader’s personal influences, past experiences, self-perception. This is where the gaps are all filled. This differs from reader response in that all possible interpretations are valued equally – there is no one meaning. The gaps are usually filled in
the authors implied meaning of the universal truth in the text is interpreted.
Miley Cyrus’s song Wrecking Ball can be interpreted in different ways. For most people, they assume Miley’s lyrics could be about a past relationship/ lover but others might see it differently. The lyrics “ We Kissed I fell under your spell, a love no one could deny.” Could be about her kissing a person who hypnotized her with his/her charm and she couldn’t shake from it, or it could be said that Miley was “under a spell” and addicted to drugs or substances.
“ Don’t you ever say I just walked away I will always want you.” That text could be interpreted in many different ways also. The writer of the text could have walked away from their former partner, but deep down they still want to be with them, however they know what’s best for them. On the other hand, the writer of the text could have been walking away from a donut shop and talking to an inanimate object, knowing that they want a donut but they shouldn’t have it because its bad for their health.

“ I never meant to start a war, I just wanted you to let me in, and instead of using force, I guess I should've let you win.” She started getting into fights with her partner at the time, she didn’t want too but she felt as though it brought herself closer to him/her since she felt distant and unsure about their relationship. She shouldn't have been so naive and keep on lashing out, instead she thinks too herself she should of sucummbed to her partner and their desires/wishes.

“ I put you high up in the sky and now you’re not coming down. It slowly turned you let me burn and now we’re ashes on the ground.” She put her partner on a pedestal and was biased, now she can’t make him/her seem normal because of how she ignored their flaws and imperfections. Her emotions and feelings were “burning” and ended up making her partners feel the same, making them both exhausted and fed up with each other. She could of let go of her balloon and now it was high in the sky and she knew she would never see it again, “ You let me burn and now we’re ashes on the ground” could've meant that Miley was trying to quit cigarettes, but her mind made her smoke again and the ashes on the ground were just ashes of a horrible addiction.

“ I came in like a wrecking ball, I never hit so hard in love, All I wanted was to break your walls, All you ever did was wreck me.” She fell in love with her partner surprisingly fast, she has never felt this way before and was very eager about it. All she ever wanted was to get to know them better and make them feel they same way she felt, however in the end, she realizes while she would give her partner anything and sacrifice their own wants to make them happy, her partner would not do the same, and only hurts her.

Other Analysis:

-Love and Heartbreak (Ajay)
-Inner Conflict (Fares)
-Drug And Substance Abuse (Jordan)
-Friendship (Danny)
-Zoophilia (Christine)

I. Rejection of concepts
structuralist thought. Ie: Totalizing, Essentializing, foundationalizing.

II. Persons are culturally structured, created through
. (Referred to as subjects in the following)

III. Post structuralism sees reality as more fragmented, cultural and diverse than structuralism. Consequently has post structuralism payed more attention to:

Specific histories
-emphasis on the body
-language and textuality
Methods of Textual Analysis
What does post - structuralist thought suggest?
Analysis limitations and how it relates to traditional forms of criticism.
In Summary, post-structuralism is about:

-recognizing the overarching notion that meaning does not exist outside of the text and that meaning is not fixed but rather contingent and unstable.

-filling the gaps or limits between ideas, and that
all possibilities
/truths are

-there are no
wrong answers

-post-structuralism demonstrates the dual and chaotic nature of meaning, the falsity of universal truths, and the unpredictability of systems.

-focusing on the
readers participation
in analyzing the structure of a text.

the existence of other theories, avoiding
scientific, philosophical
truth in a text.

Draw something (think outside the box) that comes to your mind when you see the following words:



How would this help in analyzing a text?
Is this effective? Why?
Thank you for participating!
Full transcript