English 2600 from Lee Ann Mortensen
Quiz #6/7 and Mini-Analysis Assignment


  1. Based on Tyson’s definitions in chapter 7, structuralism is a very specific examination of single texts to see how they work on their own—T     F (circle one).
  2. In Tyson ch. 7, structuralism (in terms of linguistics via de Saussure) tries to find the structures of texts and language based on langue instead of parole—T     F (circle one).


  1. You have probably been taught that certain genres of texts follow certain codes.  Create your own structural system or set of codes for any text(s) you want to analyze (you can think Semiotically here—anything is text—write your answer on a separate page if you need to).




  1. According to Tyson’s definitions in chapter 8, deconstruction theory is simply about making the world as meaningless as possible—T    F (circle one).
  2. In chapter 8, Tyson tells us deconstruction focuses on the study of chains (or webs) of signifiers rather than on how signifiers and signifieds correspond to each other and present us with evidence of some underlying structure.  How does deconstruction theory manage to “get rid of” signifieds and become poststructural?



  1. Based on Tyson’s presentation in chapter 7 and 8, briefly define eight of the following important structuralist and deconstructive terms:
    1. Surface Phenomena:
    2. Diachronic:
    3. Synchronic:
    4. Signs:
    5. Signifiers:
    6. Signifieds
    7. Semiotics:
    8. Narratology:
    1. Language (for deconstruction):
    2. Deferral:
    3. Out of Play:
    4. Dissemination:
    5. Logocentric:
    6. Trace:
    7. Decenter:
    8. Binary Opposition and Hierarchy:
    9. Bricolage:


  1. In Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” use Gene Genette’s structuralist codes of Narration and Mood (the atmosphere of narrative created by narrative distance, POV, and voice) to show how this story moves us closer to or further away from the story it is trying to tell (write your answers on another sheet if you need to).




  1. Find a binary opposition in the “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen.  Which side is privileged?  Does the story flip this hierarchy?  Does the story deconstruct hierarchies altogether?  Further deconstruct this hierarchy.  Show quick but close-reading evidence from the text.




  1. BONUS QUESTION: For Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” do a quick deconstruction of the text by focusing on a different binary hierarchy than Tyson focuses on in her analysis (she privileges the speaker vs. neighbor binary).





  1. MINI-ANALYSIS 1—According to Tyson, how might you begin to discover/create the codes of a structural system?  Show us an example of one structural system from chapter 7 (semiotics, genre classification, narratology, or self-reflective analysis of literary interpretation).  You may choose to answer question 3 or 4 from page 238 to help you focus.
  1. MINI-ANALYSIS 2—According to Tyson, how might you use a literary text to show the infinity of signifiers in play (the idea of a constantly shifting center—think of the first purpose she mentions about doing deconstruction with texts on page 252)?  How might you use a text to deconstruct a hierarchy?  You can help yourself focus by exploring question 2, 3, or 5 on p. 274-75.


Other Questions….

  1. Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby is filled with a number of significant moments for the novel as a whole.  If I were looking at Daisy’s running over Myrtle with Feminist glasses, what spins might I be able to say about her act?
  2. In Emily Dickinson’s poem 520…
  3. In Kate Chopin’s story “The Storm” based on the biographical information preceeding the story, how might this story be a feminist story?  If we look at the text now, how might it be perpetuating female stereotypes?
  4. In Tillie Olsen’s story “I Stand Here Ironing,” how might one give this a feminist (rather than a psychoanalytic or Marxist) critique?
  5.  How might you quickly argue that Kate Chopin’s story “The Storm” is really conflicted in it’s ideological agenda?