Derrida came to the Rescue

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"In order to avoid the possibly sterilizing effect of the first way, the other choice--which I feel corresponds more nearly to the way chosen by Levi-Strauss--consists in conserving in the field of empirical discovery all these old concepts, while at the same time exposing here and there their limits, treating them as tools which can still be of use" (Derrida 357).

Well class, I think we hit the jackpot with this one!!

Would you agree that we are doing this now?

Let me try to explain my reasoning. All of the authors and types of criticism that we are learning can be considered "tools" of the past. This is because it has already by researched and published in many Medias and we are focusing on them by applying certain schools of criticism to a text. I think that Derrida is saying that the "old concepts" of the past are still necessary to use in today's literature field, but in order to get new concepts, then we must focus on our thoughts and discoveries.

Does that make sense and have meaning to Post-structuralism?

I think that the human sciences, as Derrida used in her title, let us, scholars and critics, discover new methods or "tools" in literature because we observe, predict, research, and analyze what a text contains.

When Derrida talks about "structure, sign, and freeplay," (362) I believe that he is saying that each category or word determines what the new tool will be. So, if we take structure, for example, and apply it to The Yellow Wallpaper, then we will use the house as a means for representing male authority. Secondly, if we take sign, and apply it to "Life is a Dream," then we will understand that each Captains ship represented a different sign or status of freedom and/or seclusion of slaves. Lastly, if we take freeplay and apply it to any text, then we seem to be not limited to one role or category, but more like any new discovery that we learn along the way.

Wow, this was an interesting text, but it really seemed to represent have certain categories offer certain interpretations and in order to get our own interpretation, then we must take a new look at a piece of literature.

Click here for the web page devoted to Derrida.

3 Comments

Derek, your blog is refreshingly optimistic. I love how you link Derrida's theory to our own critical pursuits in class. Nice job. You should check out Greta's blog. She had a similar observation. http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2009/03/use_the_tool_that_works_best.html

Thanks, Ellen!

I will check out Greta's blog entry and I look forward to your presentation tomorrow evening.

Best of luck and you will do great!

I'm not quite sure what I thought about Derrida's article, Derek. I know that I did not understand it, that's for sure. How are structure, sign, and freeplay really related to literature and criticism? I just did not think that Derrida articulated very well. Your explanation would maybe help.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on March 29, 2009 1:53 PM.

Don't Linger on the Past, but on the Future was the previous entry in this blog.

I saw Broccoli in Derrida's Essay is the next entry in this blog.

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