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More Muddiness to my Muddy Points

"If we assume we can apply, say, a formal approach to The Tempest, and then a historical approach, an intertextual approach, and so forth, and see which approach works best, or see to what extent each 'works,' we implicitly claim that we possess already a standard of critical adequacy independent of any approach. We will know what 'works' when we see it" (Keesey 347).
"But it is the mark of the deconstructive critics not to stop at any certain point" (Keesey 348).

When I read these two quotes from Keesey's introduction to poststructuralism, I was strangely reminded of my own muddy points. Indeed, Keesey seemed to be reiterating what I have already defined as my points of confusion on more than one occasion in class. While Keesey's statements still don't "answer" my muddy points, they did help me realize something important: Keesey's introduction caused me to realize that I have been thinking like a deconstructive critic for much of this class without realizing it. Several times, I have stated that I didn't understand how to find "the standard of critical adequacy," as Keesey phrases it, in evaluating the text. How do we "know what 'works' when we see it?" While I still don't know the answer to that question, I at least now realize that in asking that question, I was thinking like a poststructuralist. Furthermore, I have also named as my muddy point on multiple occasions an uncertainty of when to stop in critical analysis--"Couldn't we just go on forever?" I would ask, then worry about how to write a 3 page case study if this were the case. Well, for the deconstructionists, this is the case--there is no stopping point. While this may complicate things as opposed to clarifying them, I feel a little better knowing that my muddy points, in part, inspired a literary movement. While I'm still "answerless", at least I'm not alone in recognizing these issues...

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 5, 2009 7:29 PM.

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