What aspects of deconstructionist literary criticism can be applied to Jorge Luis Borges's Circular Ruins?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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As is typical of the author's work, "The Circular Ruins" by Jorge Luis Borges is almost a work of metafiction, with some qualities of a fable and some of a theological essay. With a sort of spare elegance with respect to detail,  Borges himself seems almost to deconstruct the world of the story.

Several aspects of deconstruction can apply to this story. The first is Derrida's dictum "il n'y a pas de hors-texte", for by the end of the story the narrator reveals to us that rather than being "outside" the story of creation, he himself is merely a dream-child as well, caught up in an infinite regress of textual replication and infinite deferral of signification.

Next, the story can be seen as following deconstructive models of breaking down binary oppositions. The differences between story teller and story, creator and creation, illusion and reality, dream and waking, and god and human disappear in the story, as the tale winds back on itself and melds the creating dreamer with a dream. The story challenges us to examine the nature of writing itself and the dream worlds it creates as not opposed to reality but constitutive of the world in which we find ourselves.

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