Deconstruction of Poetic Discourse: Analysis of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

By Lashari, Mubarak Ali; Memon, Dr Shumaila et al. | International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Deconstruction of Poetic Discourse: Analysis of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


Lashari, Mubarak Ali, Memon, Dr Shumaila, Larik, Saima, International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities


Introduction

The world of literature and critical study has come across many well-known theories and principles in modem and postmodern cultural studies. It truly has seen new dawn with the emergence of structuralism of Ferdinand de Saussure. Although structuralism has the basis in linguistics yet it spread widely to almost all humanistic social studies. Post-structuralism and deconstruction are the result of either pro or against the structuralism.

The French philosopher Jacques Derrida's prominent contribution 'Deconstruction' is landmark in the history of literary criticism. This theory is widely used for the analysis and interpretation of binary oppositions, intertexuality, contradictions & metaphors, différance (spatial & temporal), presence in absence and sign or code (signifier/signified) for constructing meaning within text. Deconstruction is commonly known as modem, cultural, literary, and philosophical method of critical reading. This critical and contextual theory supports in exposing and understanding the weaknesses and the intrinsic structure of text by decoding the system of language. Deconstruction never destroys text but analyzes differences within it critically.

There are various interpretations to its origin yet it has closest association with Derrida. Kates (2005) states that the term 'Deconstruction' is coined by Jacques Derrida in 1967. The claim is well confirmed by Stocker (2006) that this term first appears in chapter 4 'Meaning and Representation' of Jacques Derrida's book Speech and Phenomena (1973). Similarly, Tyson (2006) reveals about the existence of the very term that deconstruction is chaotic theory; originated by unusual French thinker and theorist of the 20th century Jacques Derrida in 1960s in France and it is mostly identified with 'Post-structuralism' for the reason that it not only emerged and pervaded after the linguistic theory 'Structuralism' but also is a reaction against it. On the one hand, Howells (1999) construes that deconstruction got emergence in France and spread widely in England and the United States where Derrida became popular for this unusual modem and literary theory. On the other hand, Bertens (2001) opines that it was the time when Saussurean structuralism was in developing process. Thus, the deconstruction has come in vogue and succeeded in getting its peculiar identity.

From there Jacques Derrida has also been identified with the reading method in novel way. So, Derrida is called 'Poststructuralist' by philosophers and cultural & literary theorists (Stocker, 2006). Derrida best defines 'Post-structuralism'. He himself emphasized:

Deconstruction is not a theory unified by any set of consistent rules or procedures, it has been variously regarded as a way of reading, a mode of writing, and, above all, a way of challenging interpretations of texts based upon conventional notions of the stability of the human self, the external world, and of language and meaning (as cited in Habib, 2011, p. 240).

To many critics defining deconstruction in a nutshell is a hard nut to crack. However, 'Deconstruction' is defined by other many critics in different ways. Trifonas & Peters (2005) describe deconstruction as firm association with Derrida which depends mainly on the mode of interpretation, analysis, and criticism but basically on practicing both reading and writing. Bertens (2001) affirms that deconstruction as Derrida's practice is the way of dismantling and analyzing text to disclosing their inner complexities. The Yale poststructuralist Miller (1976) defines it, "Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself' (p. 341). Belsey (2002) has his own view about this, putting it; 'Post-structuralism' is a theory of literary criticism which links human beings, the world they live in, and the practice of deciphering meanings. Stocker (2006) suggests on Derridean theory in philosophical point of view that 'Deconstruction' being philosophical theory and approach is the "movement within philosophy" (p. …

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