The present study is intended to illustrate the analogous concepts in two great American literary works, The Scarlet Letter a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "A Rose for Emily" a short story by William Faulkner with the help of deconstruction.
Deconstruction is Jacque Derrida’s inventive strategy, which aims to subvert the traditional ideas and methodologies related to language and textual interpretations and put into question the entire history of Western metaphysics from Plato to the present time such as believing in “logocenterism” and “binary oppositions”. The fundamental concern of this study is to practice the elements of deconstruction in similar concepts of these literary works. In The Scarlet Letter, the letter A is the…show more content… Emerging late in 1960’s as a new strategy for textual analysis, deconstruction captivated the concentration of critical theories. What is deconstruction? In A Handbook to Literary Research deconstruction is defined as "a form of textual practice derived from the work of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida which aims to demonstrate the inherent instability of both language and meaning" (131). Derrida began formulating his theories on deconstruction by critiquing Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics. The ideas of Saussure concerning language formed the theories of structuralism from which Derrida borrowed as a key for his deconstruction method. Saussure claimed that the linguistic sign is composed of two parts: the signifier (spoken or written constituent) and the signified (the meaning and concept). Borrowing Saussure, Derrida believed that the relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary and conventional. He also asserted that both the signifier and the signified can be known through their relationships and differences from other signifiers…show more content… Hester changes from a prostitute to a nun. She reaches from the nadir of wretchedness to the highest point of reverence. So we can conclude that there is no final meaning for a word in a text.
The unstable relationship between the signifier and the signified is apparent in these statements. Hawthorne himself mentions Hester’s role as a powerful and able woman and praises her strength rather than to remind her sin.
According to Derrida Western metaphysics has made some terms that function as "centers": reason, origin, truth, humanity, and etc. These centers can serve as the basis for all thoughts and actions. Each operates as a self sufficient and self originating concept. But Derrida's target was to reverse these centers. He believed that we can reverse the elements of any hierarchy and "decenter" the privileged center, creating a new hierarchy. This means that every center can be decentralized. So according to him, this decenterism at the end of the day leads to the view that there is no center at all.
The concepts of decenterism are illustrated by Hester Prynne. The novel begins with a description of the people of Boston