Daily Archives: March 17, 2011

Deconstructing the Text (HUM303)

Here are some of my remarks on the second section of Belsey’s essay. If you have questions or observations about them, or even vague, half-formed notions about that essay as a whole, please address them to this post.

“By these means [closure, hierarchy of discourses] classic realism offers the reader a position of knowingness which is also a position of identification with the narrative voice. To the extent that the story first constructs, and then depends for its intelligibility, on a set of assumptions shared between narrator and reader, it confirms both the transcendent knowingness of the reader-as-subject and the ‘obviousness’ of the shared truths in question” (664).

Deconstructing the Text

In the first paragraph Belsey reiterates a double truth of ideology: it is inconsistent and it conceals its inconsistencies. Against this tendency, Belsey offers the critical practice of deconstruction, a set of methods that focus not on authorial intention (what the author “really meant”) but the formal elements of the text and the way they are configured.

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