17 October 2000
by Lily Huang
To question and to dissipate
the "phonocentrism" and "logocentrism" of Western metaphysics, Jacques
Derrida, through his reading of the Western philosophers, designates a
new kind of practice and deconstructs this system by indicating and playing
on the notions of "differance", "trace," supplement and writing.
both the domination of nothing and "the subversion of every realm," "solicites"¨
the "ontology of presence"(Derrida 401).
uses "-ance" instead of "-ence," which is appropriated from the French
verb "differer" meaning "to differ"¨ (to be different) and ¡§to
defer," to point out that a significance is given by its difference and,
ambiguously, it can never come to its definite end, keeping ceaselessly
deferring (Derrida 385).
is something beyond our understanding, never being realized in logic (Derrida
"graphic difference" is only graphic, for that the "a" replacing
the "e" can be written or read but never can be heard. (Derrida 386)
appears and hide, being present and absent, belonging to "no category of
being" (Derrida 388).
(with an a) is neither active nor passive; it acts as a compensation for
the sense of difference (with an e) that can never reach the goal "to differing,"
"to temporalizing" (Derrida 389-390).
is the "self-effacing" of meaning in any spoken or written utterance. The
play of trace has neither meaning nor depth.It
points to nothing, belonging to no place.Trace
could be the simulacrum of a presence and refers beyond itself; "in presenting
itself it becomes effaced" (Derrida 403-04).
Derrida looks at the Western philosophers.
sign is expressed by "being present," and our knowledge comes from experiencing
the presence of the perceptual world.Derrida
argues that there is no pure expression of presence; signifier always points
to another signifier, and there is no direct, definite referring to the
signified (Sarup 35-36).
thinks speech is the originality and writing its supplement.Derrida
shows us how Rousseau in his Essay on The Origin of Languages contradicts
himself (Sarup 39).
based on a sort of binary opposition, attempts to discover the general
structure of human activity, and writing for him functions as an instrument
to regain the primitive mind that has long been lost.Derrida
questions the existence of general law, for whom Levi-Strauss¡¦
idea of writing only shows illusive nostalgia (Sarup 39-40).
relates writing to the "dream work": condensation as metaphor, displacement
as metonymy, consideration of representability as image. And secondary
revision as an apparent connectedness.Derrida
develops Freud¡¦s theory to the extent of reading text; for
the text we examine the moment when the text slips from the law it designs
for itself (Sarup 42-42).
the structure of language to explain the unconscious. It is impossible,
in Lacan's view, for an individual to reach his total personality; "the
subject" is everlastingly detached from the object at which his desire
aims.Derrida thinks that
Lacan believes himself reveal the "true" Freud, and he questions Lacan's
idea of "truth" and "authenticity" (Sarup 43-44).
Nietzsche, there is no single truth and fixed, concrete "self-identical
meaning" in reality, and every idea emerges from "an equating of the unequal.The
"will to truth" is the "will to power." Derrida
follows Nietzsche's interpretation of language and meaning.Metaphor
works in language and constantly transfers from one reality to another,
thus structuring discourses and forming our conceptions (Sarup 45-48).
"Little Red Riding Hood"
Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan.Literary
Theory: An Anthology.Malden,
Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1998.
Madan.An Introductory Guide to
Post-structuralism and Postmodernism.2nd
ed.Hertfordshire: Harvester, 1993.