What is meant by deconstruction in literature?

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. Deconstruction is a poststructuralist theory, based on the writings of people like Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man. Originally, it is a philosophical theory, which seeks to question the meta-narrative assumptions that a society holds to be true. In short, it questions whether there can be any certainty at all in the area of knowledge. There is a rejection of all structures (structualism). When this is applied to literature, it posits that meaning is always uncertain. To put it another way, the job of the reader is not to ascertain the meaning of the text, because this is not a possible endeavor.

Instead, what deconstructionist readers look for in a text is the internal flaws in the text. They posit that these show that there is no consistent meaning. In other words, they seek to deconstruct meaning. The problem with this is that you can deconstruct this meaning as well. This, in theory, can go on indefinitely.

liima | Student

The term "deconstruction" was coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1960s. In general, deconstruction is a philosophy of meaning, which deals with the ways that meaning is constructed by writers, te. In a deconstructionist reading, this unconscious and unarticulated point is revealed, and in this revelation the binary structure upon which the text rests is imploded. Thus what appears stable and logical is revealed to be illogical and paradoxical, and interpretation is by its very nature misinterpretation.xts, and readers.