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In broad terms, deconstruction is a taking apart, a dissection, of any structure (it is borrowed from carpentry), to not only discover how it was put together, but to discover some hidden predilections of the builder. (If you deconstructed a wooden house, you might discover that the builder used short-cuts and substitute materials to make a façade that appeared solid but was in fact a disguise.) In literary criticism the term refers to discovering covert linguistic, grammatical, and connotative habits of an author, and rather than concentrating on the conscious intentions of the author, it serves to uncover subtle unintentional clues. An easy example is to deconstruct the pronoun use in a piece of prose to determine gender assumptions of the author. Using the term in child psychology and young adult behavior, a psychologist might “deconstruct” the subjects actions to reveal, underneath the seemingly apparent motives, a hidden desire, such as “to punish the parent” or “rival the sibling” or some such less obvious reason for a child’s behavior. Violence at school might be "deconstructed" to reveal abuse at home. Anytime a critic or analyst moves past the obvious to the subtle, deconstruction (“taking apart to reveal structure”) is taking place. In literature, it was the next step after “new criticism”, which moved past classical criticism, which was essentially the tracing of past influences on a writer.
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