March 25, 2007

Keesey Chapter 6 Intro

Keesey, Ch 6 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Structuralist thinkers had already applied the linguistic model to all cultural phenomena, had already 'textualized' the world. And in the process they had gone some way toward decentering the 'individuals' who were supposed to control these all-encompassing semiological systems" (Keesey 349).

So far, I am understanding some of the components to a Poststructural Criticism, but I am still a bit confused on how to write a criticism of that magnitude, especially toward a completely complext novel like Pale Fire. It appears to me that the goal of a Poststrucuralist is to confuse the reader as much as possible, because that is reality. I can understand how that actually makes sense, but it still leaves me with questions, especially on the foundation of deconstruction. It also seems that this is a mixture between intertextual and formalism criticisms because of the breaking away from tradition, and by using form and language to create that separation. Overall, Poststructuralism is either a criticism that is so simple, or so complex, because either way, I am still having difficulty grasping this one.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at March 25, 2007 1:08 PM
Comments

Amen on that one, brother! I have no idea how to attack Pale Fire using this type of criticism. I guess we have to pay close attention to the language and realize that no idea as Keesey said is really original, rather everything developed from one sign and our metaphors are rather like the branches. We should probably attempt somehow to use a blend of both formalism and intertextuality as you said. Thanks, that helped me at least understand what to compare it to, now I just have to tackle writing the essay, ugh!

Posted by: Erin at March 28, 2007 1:19 PM

This is going to sound weird (yes, I'm prefacing my thoughts which is something I despise, but I need to warn you), but when I think of poststructuralism I see ladders.

Yes, ladders. I think about them and how they permit movement both ascending and descending, and there's no real center (because the ladder in my mind doesn't stop or start--it's just a ladder). Then I think of stairs--same thing: you can ascend and descend without issue, and there is no center (again with the never-ending principle), so the stairs alongside the ladder give me two structures to consider as texts. But stairs take up more space and are "meatier" than ladders--so ladders seem like the skeletons of stairs (and somewhat the more ordered version, too, I guess).

I sometimes use images like this to help myself understand a text. Ladders came to mind naturally with poststructuralism for some (strange) reason. Before you say that what I'm saying in pointless (which it may seem that way for some people), know that I'm a visual person as well as a textual person. So seeing something visual as text (as Foucault says, I believe) is natural for me too.

Every book I read is a structure--sometimes I think they're skyscrapers or mansions, sometimes they're old haunted houses with secret passageways or sheds filled with lawnmowers and garden hoes in a backyard somewhere. Sometimes they're less predictable (like ladders and stairs). But seeing a story for its structure helps me to tear it apart--deconstructionists do this, too. When I can successfully tear something apart and understand its pieces and then reassemble it, I feel like I know it. Even though I'm only doing this mentally with stories (I'm not actually tearing the spines out of books and gluing them together... haha), I feel like getting inside the structure helps me to think outside the structure because I already know what I'm working against.

Wow, that's really long. Sorry. Anyway, feel free to ask me about ladders or structures any time. I know I probably think about this stuff in a much different way than most people... but I'm used to that. I know I'm weird. And that's okay with me :)

Posted by: Karissa at March 29, 2007 2:29 PM

Escher, anyone?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 29, 2007 4:54 PM

I am just very interested in the fact that we may never truly understand, but overall, to keep searching academically is just as important. Ambiguity is actually important to the clarity of poststructuralism, which appears to be full of irony, but it makes so much sense.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at April 4, 2007 10:29 PM
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