Response Paper on Post Structuralism
The idea of meaninglessness that is tantamount to the belief of Post structuralism came into being with the ‘age without reason’, otherwise known as the post- modern era. While defying the possibility of a ‘structure’, it established a center of belief that there are only multiple interpretations, but never a meaning. A word may be interpreted in many ways; it may generate multiple sound images or represent a number of concepts, but until and unless all of them are congruent to each other, defining the ‘meaning’ of the word will always be impossible. If we take into consideration the ever famous example of ‘God’, the sign may lack a concrete signifier ...view middle of the document...
He aims to dig up the history behind and deconstruct social constructs by inverting common binary oppositions. For example, the uneasiness and fear of society’s reaction towards the idea of gifting a doll to a boy child showers light upon the hierarchies set up within society in the binaries of ‘man’ and ‘woman’.
He is also against the idea of the transcendental signifier because it can’t be defined without being differentiated from another transcendental signifier. But the idea of more than one center is not explicitly explained. The explanation of the fact that the existence of any structure is impossible without a center using the example of Levi Strauss’ work, however, seems wanting. That his discourse, both, “reflects itself and criticizes itself”, makes one understand Derrida’s technique of writing better.
He introduces the concept of ‘free play’ which attempts to ignite an idea without any center, if that is ever possible. This concept reminds one of Barthes’ idea of the ‘birth of a reader’ by the ‘death of the author’ which is only possible when one disengages oneself from the center of the author, who is away from the whole structure of interpretation.
MH Abrams in his essay The Deconstructive Angel (1977) seems to debate with himself for several pages about Derrida’s deconstruction theory and Miller’s adaptation of it, but concludes that the absence of ‘a’ meaning is rather a good reason for the continuity of healthy debate. He writes about the substantiality of errors that may or may not occur in a historian’s interpretation of another’s work, but fails to mention who should be the judge of them?
His essay is basically a reply to Hillis Miller’s review of Abrams’s book, Natural Supernaturalism (1973) and is replete with contradictions from both the critics. Miller asserts his belief in Nietzsche’s contradictory statements about the possibility of multiple interpretations and that of no interpretation. This also stands synchronous to the first paragraph written in this paper.
Miller believes that Abrams can never be right in his interpretation and Abrams in turn, labels Miller a ‘deconstructive angel’ implying the same for him. Abrams also seems to...