Keesey Has a Muddy Point Himself

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"Deconstructive criticism, then, is postructural in at least three senses: it comes after structuralism; it deconstructs the central concept of 'structure'; yet at the same time it continues many of the key ideas of structuralism, among them the ideas that humans are signifying creatures, that human cutlure is a system of sign systems, and that the source and pattern for those system is language" (Keesey 350).

It seems like Keesey is a little confused himself on how to create a definition for postructuralism. He points out all the characteristics of it, including deconstructive criticism, but it seems all to lead to the same observation: that if you were to take the actual definition of postructuralism literally, nothing in our world would have any meaning. Ever. Since everything is created by signs, including our culture, these signs have to rely on other signs/symbols to exist which in turn rely on other signs, and so on and so on. So, it seems to me Keesey is trying to create an explanation that could define postructuralism in a way that would give it the characteristic in finding meaning in something. He manages in way to define it, by saying that it pulls the text apart (deconstrutive criticism) to see how it works. However, even in his last paragraph, he notes that there is a key to forcing postructuralism to find something that has meaning: "By following the premises of our interpretative systems to their paradoxical conclusions, they remind us that we often achieve our insights by turning a blind eye to those impasses where our line of thought turns back upon itself" (Keesey 351). In other words, to stay sane not only with literary criticism, but with analyzing your life in general, you have to ignore trying to back track the never ending line of symbols that have to support each other and cause explanations to only run circles around each other.

Bye 

 

2 Comments

ANgela Palumbo said:

Wow...I feel a little better. If I interpreted your entry correct, you are not a fan of post-structuralism. If post-structuralism works so hard to take things apart and discredit them I'll do the same here.

Post-structuralism is a type of criticism, as a previously mentioned, that works toward undermining the structures within a text. It undermines power structures and language to just name a few. However, if post-structuralism undermines language itself while also relying solely on language, it is also weak. Also, by undermining structure, yet having a fluid but pretty definable definition, post-structuralism also operates under the same kinds of structures that it works to undermine. So what's the point? In fact, what's the point of doing literary criticism or even reading if nobody seems to know what they're talking about. We are human, not perfect. What sport is there in undermining everything that is said or done? Those kinds of people usually end up in jail or asylums because people think they're crazy. What do you think Katie?

Katie Vann said:

I think I'll be joining those people in an asylum because I'm definately going crazy although not because I use postructuralism constantly.

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