Help with Signifier and Signified

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-From Elizabeth Wright’s “The New Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism” in Donald Keesey’s Contexts for Criticism, page 396


“The uncanny force of the shaving scene resides in the slave’s actions being both signifier of his good intentions to Delano, the new master, and at the same time signifier of his bad ones to Cereno, his old master, whose death is the moment he anticipates.”


I thought that Wright’s essay was interesting because she used Poststructuralism/ Deconstructive criticism to prove a psychoanalytical point.  This is just another means for us to see that it is often hard to separate the various types of criticism from one another.  


In this quote, as well as throughout the rest I found an example for myself as to how to use Poststructuralism in a critical essay.  The signifier and signified terminology was confusing to me at first, but after reading Eagleton’s chapter on Poststructuralism and after reading this essay by Wright, I feel like I understand Poststructuralism much better, as well as the difference between this school and Structuralism in general.  


See what others have to say about Wright's essay.


Katie Vann said:

I think I pretty much understand what postructuralism is so it was easy for the most part to follow along in this essay. I think the part that confused me a little was the fact that Wright was using postructuralism for psychoanalytical reasons. It took me a while to figure out exactly how she was trying to make her point.

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