ERIC Number: ED351684
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-26
Reference Count: N/A
Deconstruction Literary Theory and a Creative Reading of "The Great Gatsby."
Dennis, Deborah; Trotman, Charlene C.
Through the mid-1980s, resistance to contemporary literary theory (especially Jacques Derrida's philosophy of deconstruction) took the form of a bitter debate that enlivened literary journals and Modern Language Association meetings. The debate continues even today, with traditional literary critics rejecting deconstruction as nihilistic and progressive critics and composition teachers enthusiastically embracing the theory because of its philosophical and pedagogical parallel with the process-oriented methods of New Rhetoric. In deconstruction, the reader sets out to find the dualities and deception, the gaps and cracks in a text, expecting all the while to find a deep fissure that Derrida characterizes as "the abyss." Deconstructionist strategies can be used to analyze "The Great Gatsby," a work of lasting literary value in part because of its narrative incongruities and the duplicitous nature of its narrator, Nick Carraway. Nick is more than an unreliable narrator; he is hopelessly dishonest and hypocritical. His deception is developed in numerous subtle ways as the story unfolds and folds back on itself and the reader learns more about Gatsby and Nick. Only late in the story does the reader begin to question Nick's contradictory statements and wonder about his motives. Nick's real role, as the main character/narrator, is to advance his own stylized version of the quest for capturing the elusive, ever vanishing American Dream--individual wealth, power, social position, immortality--for present and future readers, till the end of time. (NKA)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aesthetic Reading; Deconstruction; Derrida (Jacques); Great Gatsby; Literary Theory; Narrative Text; Text Factors
Note: English 500 paper, Bradley University.