November 9, 1998
[This is a terrific example of outreach and accessing
and realizing resources. This young scholar is making great use of the
section she is in, but she decided to reach out and ask me my opinion on
her engagement with Derrida’s deconstruction, which she is currently studying
in the Critical Theory Course with Dan
Selden. I post Nichole’s paper without my interference first.
I link this to another page which contains this paper and my feedback.
So think of this as an example of several things:
 How to formulate a question
 How to network within an intellectual community,
a community you help create by networking within it
 How to set into dialogue continguous parts
of your intellectual endeavors
 How to go out on limbs as part of the ethics
of critical engagement – where it’s not reckless but responsible.
 How to wonder constructively without becoming
overwhelmed by the questions
 How to have a conversation.]
in The Killer Inside
The written text often times tells of its own
limitations as a mode of expression and interpretation. Deconstruction,
the term coined by Jacques
Derrida in the late 1960s, is the mode by which language forms, namely
speech and writing, overlap and transgress one another.
The relationship becomes nonexistent as the two
are so closely linked that they join in sharing similar
semiotic features. Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, a representation
of a murderer’s mind, closely resembles the above theoretical concepts.
The narrative structure questions itself, suggests its limitations and
ultimately subverts itself as an intelligible mode of expression and means
of interpretation. This particular unintelligibility effaces itself from
an epistemological standpoint as the novel’s conclusion problematizes narrative
structure as a successful phenomenological means of communication.
text. The term seems to be used loosely in regards to undergraduate studies
(the majority of upper division literature courses offered at the
a series of
in the mid-1960s
to Rousseau, he reverses the notion of writing as an
the concept of
language and are
the two. In
Me, a book
unconscious, I find
the limitations of
novel, and it is
is a hypocrite.
by leading the
him/her in a
he begins to tell
past to give the
that in the
every time he
into a deep
he at first
and moves out of
seems untenable and
the way I see
job. And I’m not
(180). If Lou
about his not
of the writer.
it as writing,
keep to his word
outside of speech
everything in a
between the two
on the above
and that becomes
to this later.
This is as far as I could
|1. I intend to
compare the above passage w/ the last few paragraphs of
the novel to see if, in fact, Lou holds up his end of the bargain.
am going to show how Lou’s words do seem to sink into a „deep
dreamless sea.“ The punctuation and lack thereof help to show this
well as the words incoherent meaning(s). Does Lou really die? (He
does in my interpretation). If he does, then how does he go on
„speaking?/writing?“ the last and ending paragraph?
|2. I am going
to try to thoughtfully show how the narrative’s
improbability and unintelligibility (in a Foucauldian
sense) is that very thing that deconstructs it. The unintelligibility
reveals how Lou’s narrative is neither speech nor writing but both.
I’m going to use some more Derrida theory as well as the fact that
The Killer Inside Me text is written. Lou’s ambivalence to writing
also a topic of interest.
|3. What does this
say, then, about writing as a medium for expression?
What does this say about the success of the first
What does this say about the transparency of language?
sure yet, but I have some ideas.
you think about all this, Earl? Am I going out on a crazy
Will you have this read before Tuesday’s office hours,
like to come talk to you about it. If not, can we perhaps
For Earl’s response to Nichole’s paper, Click This.
Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology.
Corrected Edition. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
De Man, Paul. Allegories of Reading.
(need more info.)
Thompson, Jim. The Killer Inside Me.
New York: Vintage Crime/ Black
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