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Example of Deconstruction - A Newspaper Article
A Deconstruction of the HSC Syllabus - Change
Deconstruction - An Art

Deconstruction is a crucial part of Critical Literacy, and here is a guide to its microcosmic methods.

A Step By Step Guide to the Deconstruction of Texts.

Language Directs Meaning

There are many ways to analyse a text. Each betray a certain philosophical approach to the study of text, as well as a cultural bias.

One of the most popular ways was to enjoy a text, swim in its language, comment on the value of the text, as compared to other text. This is commonly known as a literary approach, or, more fully, a literary appreciation approach. This was very much the approach of the Related course of the old HSC. It is also the way English is still largely taught. In this style, language study adds to your appreciation of how good an author is. This is where Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare get a good run. It was commonly assumed that Australian literature rarely got to this level, if at all. This style of analysis lives on in the new syllabus, in the case of the Critical Study, the presence of "classic" English texts proves this. However, even that is a bit different these days, as we shall see.

The text analysis of today is fundamentally different. It is deconstruction of text. It has been a very popular form of analysis in universities for a long time, especially since the writings of Foucault and other semioticians.

This form of analysis doesnt feature the idea that one text is better than another it just looks at text as something that reveals cultural and other biases. To this school, a pop song by Britney Spears reveals as much as Shakespeare. This is a "post modern" approach to literature.

Deconstruction of a text takes it and pulls it apart, to look at its components. It sees the cultural, political and social messages that are coming through the text. A deconstructor also sees the meaning the author is trying to get across, as well as his / her own social, political and cultural background. This is done by examining purpose, audience, intentions, word construction, basically the things the new HSC syllabus talks about. Practically, deconstruction requires students to get away from seeing the value of one text over another, and see each piece of writing as a cultural construct, waiting to be consumed or pulled apart. To do this, you must do various types of analysis.

 

Glossary

What is a semiotician?

They are people who examine (by deconstructing) language, and see the way cultural, political and social background form language, and its meaning. They are the ones who analyse why fully sick now means very good and impressive.

The Methods of Deconstructive Analysis

1. Word analysis.
This is the most time consuming, but often rewarding form of deconstruction. This involves a student looking at a passage and isolating key words (usually adjectives, and within that realm metaphors, similes). Then, the student examines and contemplates why the author has used that word, with thought towards unconscious cultural, social and political reasons. In this way, the authors intentions and style can be examined, and students can see many of the cultural assumptions of the author.

2. Sentence analysis.
This looks at the way a sentence is constructed, to see where the emphasis is in each sentence. When a composer produces a piece of writing, he / she wants to make a point with every sentence. Thus, in each sentence there is a word or words that will be the most important. A deconstructor will find that word, and explain why the composer put emphasis on that word.

3. Whole Text Analysis.
This brings together the other research, and shows why the text was written in the first place; why the chapters are in the order they are; the texts place in and relationship with the culture of the day.

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