Dismantling the Meaning Through “doubling Commentary”: A Deconstructive Study of Elif Shafak’s “The Forty Rules of Love”
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The present research work takes "dismantle" into its consideration as one of the most important concern of deconstruction. Deconstruction deals with multiplicity of meaning, binaries as well as the main phenomenon of this theory is to dismantle the ideas. The Forty Rules of Love (2010) have been studied from various standpoints, but this paper tries to pore over the domineering elements of The Forty Rules of Love (2010) from Derridean deconstructive outlook. This research will denote the multiplicity of meanings in text, and enable us to highlight the undecidability, the particular text carry, through different perceptions and attitude towards the text. The main consideration of this theory is binary which plays the important role to unfold the many layers of text's meaning and authors approach. Deconstructionist believe that text itself has its own meaning beyond the writer and its background because reader takes it with his own perception, in this way therefore reader has to move on his mind towards the originality of depth of that significant text. For this purpose, I will select both inductive and deductive method to spring up the meaning from text.
Need of the Project
The aim of this research is to present the true way to get the meaning from the text as well as to locate elements of deconstruction, which are undeniable as one can say that it Independence the reader to mold the writing of the author by giving it to new soul having multiplicity of meaning.
The major element of deconstruction theory is “binary” which surround most of text's perceptions Binary according to Jacques Derrida, opposition between two objects, situation, condition, statements, feeling, opinions, writer's and readers mind etc.
Derrida in his book of Grammatology (1976) states that reading and interpretation of text are not mere to reconstruct the ideas of writer but it is inadequate notion, which is according to him a “doubling Commentary” upon text. So one can say that the reading has to be deconstruct rather reconstruct.
Shafak is a much venerated writer of Turkey. Most of her work is celebrated for their treatment of the subjects of mysticism and Sufism. Shafak’s first novel, Pinhan (The Mystic) was awarded the Rumi Prize in 1998, which is given to the best work in Turkey. Shafak the next novel, The Forty Rules of Love, focused on Love and love -East and West, past and present, spiritual and mundane, all in the light of Rumi and Shamans of Tabriz.The Forty Rules of Love (2010) Shafak is also designated in sense where lot of binaries lies to deconstruct the text, where characters suffer from to doubling situation, feelings, phase of life. When we open the envelop of text's meaning, we experiment too many binaries or oppositions.
For instance, religious vs materialistic approach, individual vs society, internal world vs external world, dream vs reality, calm vs conflict etc.
These type of binaries also depicts the privilege and unprivileged notion of text. The Forty Rules of Love (2010) highlights that how man is not only identified by privileged one rather than unprivileged binary gives crutches to signify the privilege one. As, in the text of The Forty Rules of Love (2010) we observe the comment of Rumi
“God created suffering so that joy might appear through it opposite. He further say
"Things become manifest through opposites...” (The Forty Rules of Love, p.121)
Our God Almighty's system of universe is best instance to give support to the binaries that He made day and night, man and women, moon and sun, human being and animal, hell and heaven, good and bad, angels and mankind etc. This is what the really Shafak wants to show the hidden meaning of the text.
The present study will be an attempt to express that how the theory of deconstruction gives structured meaning to the reader as well as it wider the reader's perception to analysis the different approaches of text as well as life.
Statement of the Problem
Writers who suffers from the paradoxical situation during writing eventually their characters have the doubling situation. It is very difficult to achieve the bigger task without the minor difficulties of life. Man is combination of both good and bad, civilized as well as barbaric figure. So unprivileged binary is the vital part of our lives which cannot be easily separated from us. In Forty Rules of Love (2010) Shafak we see that a great figure of Sufism but still he has to face the grudges and haunted views of people during his search to fulfill the quest for identification of himself as well as his relationship with his Allah Almighty. He also suffers from mental agony to find the true path in his life which would lead him towards His Allah Almighty, even he was the truest person in his dealings and intentions.
Significance of the study
This search will prove a great contribution for applying deconstruction on any text. The novel Forty Rules of Love (2010) is a remarkable figure in field of spiritual novel, in which we see in a clear word that how an unprivileged binary becomes privileged.
“... For a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as a day needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.” (The Forty Rules of Love, p.121)
The significant objectives of this research is to “dismantle the meaning of text”. The aim of this research is to present the true way to get the meaning from the text as well as to locate elements of deconstruction, which are undeniable as one can say that its independence the reader to mold the writing of the author by giving it a new soul by multiplicity of meaning. I intend to critically analyze the text The Forty Rules of Love in order to denote how through the journey of oppositions man gets the true vision of life.
The present study aims at finding out the answers of the following questions:
• What sort of multiplicity of meaning we find in text Forty Rules of Love?
• How far Shafak’s the Forty Rules of Love (2010) provide an example of deconstruction's notion of undecidability?
• How we can use the various conflicting interpretations the Forty Rules of Love (2010) produces?
Delimitation of the study
Every text can be analyzed through the lenses of deconstruction theory. But I would like to mention a particular novel carry the same theme quest for self-identification as well man's relationship with this universe and God that is Siddhartha by Herman Hessey the same theme no pains, no gain”. Oppositions are necessary to carry on in our situations and perceptions. This research will highlight that how through “decentering” the text an actual attempt our meaning comes on surface.
• First chapter will be about the introduction and background of the study.
• Second chapter of the study will be comprised on the Review of the Literature.
• Third chapter will consist of methodology and conceptual framework used for the research.
• Fourth chapter will be based on the analysis of the text Forty Rules of Love.
• Last chapter will be conclusion of the study.
Review of Literature
A philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meaning. Deconstruction is more a way of reading than a theory of literature. It aims to show how texts deconstruct or contradict themselves. Instead of showing how everything fits together in a hierarchal structure as other approaches tend to do, deconstruction tries to show how texts unravel themselves, particularly showing how privileged item in a binary pair can be reversed and subverted. Deconstruction theory attempts to find out the meaning of a particular text through underlying meanings of that text which though are not spoken by the writer but little slips of tongue and cracks of the text give that meaning. It is a violent attempt of analyzing a text by shattering all the centers and reversing the binaries by injecting the thought that no binary is privileged over the other but there is a relationship between the two which keeps them dependent on each other.
Prior to deconstruction, there was a center in all Western thinking which held true for institutions, texts, traditions, beliefs, and society. This thinking presupposed a center or origin at the core of every structure and this center was seen as the ontological ground of such structures. “Thus by presupposing centers, structures depict a sense of coherence and allow individuals to think without contradiction” ‘Derrida, j. (1982). Therefore, the concept of a center is as old as the word episteme – Western science and Western philosophy ‘Derrida, j. (1987). This desire for a center is called logocentrism ‘by Derrida in of Grammatology, and he defines it as the belief that “the first and last things are the Logos, the Word, the Divine Mind, the infinite understanding of God, an infinitely creative subjectivity, and, closer to our time, the self-presence of full self-consciousness” Derrida, j. (1976).
Derrida has discussed the concept of centrality in Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourses of the Human Sciences ‘Derrida, j. (1978). He makes the point that the center in terms of any structure functions by limiting the play ‘of the structure ‘Derrida, j. (1978). In terms of gender, the center of meaning was always taken as the male position. Patriarchy defined femaleness in terms of being all that maleness was not, and hence there was a strong hierarchical bias in this binary opposition. For Derrida, this is true of all binarisms. It is so difficult to overturn the violent hierarchy that pertains in the logic of binary oppositions. To deconstruct the opposition, first of all, is to overturn the hierarchy at a given moment.
Derrida ‘s most significant achievement is to demonstrate that the centers through which individuals create the world are Western philosophy ‘s greatest illusion. He has demonstrated that centers are constructs which deny their own contractedness in order to deceive individuals that this moment of the present, the absolute this ‘time, or the now ‘, is a creation which excludes from itself all multiplicity ‘Derrida. (1982). Derrida contends that it is necessary to begin thinking that there are no centers ‘, as these centers of origin have no natural site ‘Derrida. (1987); they are a human invention which deludes individuals into believing that language is stable. However, Derrida disagrees with this, and he draws on a point made by Nietzsche that truth is merely a mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms … truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions…coins which have their obverse effaced and now are no longer of account as coins but merely as metal ‘Derrida. (1976).
Derrida ‘s study of writing since Plato ‘constitutes that the origin of philosophy does not present a unity of logos ‘Derrida. (1976). He has dismantled the face of language and the philosophy of logocentrism, by insisting that:
“The concept of centered structure is, in fact, the concept of a play based on a fundament ground, a play constituted on the basis of a fundamental immobility and a reassuring certitude, which itself is beyond the reach of play.” Derrida j. (1978)
The privileging of speech over writing is called phonocentrism ‘, and it is a feature of logocentrism. Western Metaphysics treats writing as a contaminated form of speech: writing serves only as a supplement to speech. Language is necessary in order for speech to be intelligible ‘and speech always comes first ‘Derrida, j. (1982). According to Derrida, writing is nothing but a mediated representation of thought ‘Derrida. (1976), thus reinforcing the importance of speech. The relationship between the two is that speech represents thought by conventional signs, and writing represents the same with regard to speech. Subsequently, the speech seems nearer to the source of original thought, as one attributes a presence that is taken to be lacking in writing. As 3Culler suggests, phonocentrism is that “which treats writing as a representation of speech and puts speech in a direct and natural relationship with meaning ‘Culler. (1983), is at the core of our sense of ourselves as individual speaking subjects.”
Plato, in his writing, idealized speech as the living emanation of the word, as if it erased the gap between signifier and signified ‘Leitch. (2001). This is almost a reification of the logos ‘, as it suggests that speech is closer to truth, and therefore that it is privileged over writing. Ever since Plato, Derrida argues that philosophy has prided itself on its construction of a true world based on ultimate clarity of expression and thought ‘Mikics. (2007). Derrida however, feels that this unification between signifier and signified is merely a constructed one, which can be deconstructed and therefore individuals cannot take the meaning as fixed.
Deconstruction, as a term, has value:
within a certain context, where it replaces and lets itself be determined by so many other words such as “writing(ecriture),"trace, “difference,"supplement,"hymen,"pharamakon,"margin,"cut (name),"parergon," and so on. Derrida, j. (2007)
“In deconstruction, the critic claims that there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable, “virtual texts” constructed readers in their search for meaning.” (Rebecca Goldstein)
Derrida sees deconstruction, not as a privileged signifier, but rather as a word whose meaning derives from its relational context, which is in keeping with the reconstructive notion of differential and deferred meaning in language. According to Derrida, the founder of this theory a deconstructing reading “must always aim at certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of language that he uses…. [it] attempts to make the not-seen accessible to sight” (of Grammatology, pp.158 and 163).
Many works can analyze under the theory of Deconstruction whether it is a novel, drama, or poetry. In the poetry of Sylvia Plath, we find the binaries conflict between society and the individual, internal and external world, confusion and clarity about the vision of reality.
In the novel Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), dismantle the ideas as well as find the binaries like Eastern and Western culture, ambiguity, and vividness about the true identity of Muslim, the concept of civilized and uncivilized nature in the novel.
In the novel “Siddhartha”, dismantle the ideas as well as find the binaries like the pleasure of soul vs sensual pleasure, experience vs acceptance.
Elif Shafak’s work The Forty Rules of Love ((2010) is already researched by several researchers. For example, a research article by Syed Umra Shah: Resuscitating Esoteric Islam: An Islamic Feministic Study of Elif Shafak’s the Forty Rules of Love supports the idea of Islamic mysticism to tackle the problem of gender in Islam by foregrounding the egalitarian concept therein. The plot of the novel is in itself a Sufi symbol of the fusion of opposites. The all-inclusive methodology of Sufi Islam in The Forty Rules of Love accommodates verifiable Konya on one hand what's more, present day Boston on the other. As indicated by a popular Sufi expert Idries Shah, the cooperating of inverse things is a huge topic of Sufism, "when clear alternate extremes are accommodated, the singularity is not just finished, it likewise rises above the limits of standard humankind as we comprehend them. The individual gets to be as close as we can state enormously intense." Shah. (1999). This compromise of the two contrary energies is resounded in the unity of human soul where the male and the female join to make an entirety. In the expressions of Shafak, "each man has a level of womanliness inside" Shafak. (2010) and bad habit verse. Through the acknowledgment of contrast and the compromise of the alternate extremes shafak's The Forty Rules of Love restates Islam as a religion of affection and advancement. As the principle number thirty-five goes "In this world, it is not similitudes or regularities that take us a venture forward, yet limit alternate extremes. And every one of the contrary energies in the universe is available inside every single one of us. In this way, the adherent needs to meet the unbeliever living inside. Also, the nonbeliever ought to become acquainted with the noiseless reliable in him. Until the very beginning ranges the phase of Insan-i-Kamil, the ideal person, confidence is a continuous procedure and one that requires its appearing to be inverse: disbelief."(309)
Material and Method
I shall adopt eclectic approach for this research. It will be qualitative and quantitative as well. It will be qualitative because the formation and structure will be entirely depending upon the text and its depth. Comprehensive reading of the text will give the response towards my research comprehensively. It will be quantitative because my research area will be expanded by discovering the modern and new authors as well as to compare the novel Forty Rules of Love (2010) Shafak. The research will follow the bottom up and top down approaches to gain the objectives of the research.
The theoretical perspective of the research based upon the theory, deconstruction who has a lot of dimensions to talk about and to discuss. The current research will be focused on the Derridean theory of Deconstruction who have slogan of this theory that “Death of the author is the birth of the reader".
Derrida's thinking about the 'discipline and law that regulate writing' Derrida. (1982), is best expressed in some of his undecidable terms, such as Khora or Pharmakon. These are the aporectic Derridean tropes which form the conceptual basis of the critique of this thesis, as they deconstruct the binary logic on display a 'neither this nor that or that it is both this and that' (wolf eyes, 1998:231). Derrida is using terms like khōra, the pharmakon, différance and numerous others, as he is trying to achieve a vocabulary which will allow him to signify his double gesture and double reading of texts in order to uncover this new form of knowledge.
Western epistemology is constructed on the binary structure of the yes/no, and the true /false. Derrida, is finding a rupture in this structure, needs to find new terms to signify this rupture. This is his reason for using terms like Khora, the Pharmakon , difference .The khora exhibits how oppositions , when dismantled , bleed into one another , creating a new field or structure through the grafting of each element onto the other .I aim to use the idea of the Khora as an exemplary text, and will apply a similar scheme to the oppositions of life / death ,heaven / hell ,presence /absence, maleness / females , good /bad ,angels / mankind, internal world /external world ,dream /reality, calm /conflict, religious /Machiavellian approach, individual/society.
Deconstruction is always already within texts, and it just needs to be operationalized through a process of careful reading. Because this reading practice is outside the norms of binary logic, any process of explanation of the operations of deconstruction will necessarily be both opaque and oblique, a point he recognizes when he notes that by trying to make a word clearer so as to assist its translation, I am only thereby increasing the difficulties: the impossible task of the translator. This too is what is meant by deconstruction ‘Derrida. (2007). Deconstruction does not exist separately from the text but only ever arises in a moment of reading ‘McQuillan. (2002).
Deconstruction deals with the multiplicity of meaning, binaries as well as the main phenomenon of this theory is to dismantle the ideas. There is always a surplus over exact meaning, and it is precisely this surplus meaning, this play of meaning, that is at stake in the deconstructive project. The word delimiting ‘is the key to any understanding of deconstruction, as it seeks to shake of the limits in order to liberate the potentialities of meaning across the relationship of text and context and their numerous oscillations and interactions.