A Deconstructive Reading of Dickinson’s Poetic Texts

Aziz Yousif Al-Muttalibi

Abstract


Deconstruction, as a critical theory, maintains that language is a system of signs and, more precisely, a system of oppositions, differences and contradictions. Accordingly, the theory is operative in the sense that meanings are ultimately, unstable, and that a text, any text, contradicts, dismantles and even destroys itself. Hence, literary texts do not work as they appear to be working. They, in fact, ‘subvert’ and/or ‘betray’ themselves. Literary men cannot, therefore, control their works because any work, according to Derrida, the exponent of this theory, tries to defer or suppress its meaning which is ultimately shown as being unstable. Poetry is a unique act and Dickinson’s poetry reveals its gaps, inherent oppositions, and subversions. It is in the light of the theory of deconstruction that this paper tries to show that Dickinson’s poems ‘I’m wife’, ‘This is my Letter to the World’ and ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’ unmask their contradictions and enact the instability and indeterminacy of their meanings. Eventually, the newly established meanings of these pieces can hardly be sure of themselves and/or of being decidable.

Keywords


Dickinson, Derrida, Deconstruction, Signs, Binary Opposition, Indeterminacy, Subversion

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.6p.144

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