Defoe, Tournier, Coetzee and Deconstructive Re-visions of a Myth
2 De(Re)-Mystifying the Subject: A World without Others Re-visioned
2De(Re)-Mystifying the Subject: A World without Others Re-visioned
Friday7 results primarily from Tournier’s need to respond to the subjectivity of the Enlightenment man as portrayed in Defoe’s novel. From the psychological point of view, it problematizes Defoe’s heroic protagonist and his incredible productivity and raises an astute yet unanswerable question to Defoe: How is one supposed to keep sanity and reproduce a world consistent with the real world when he is all alone in a world without Others? Taking this problem as the starting point, Tournier’s novel leads the reader to the realization that the desert island is not an earthly paradise, but a limbo in the Pacific where people struggle in what Fornasiero terms “existential anguish”(7) against dehumanizing conditions. In this limbo, it would be questionable to maintain a heroic self and it is more logical to expect a process in which one would become perverted.
Identifying perversion as the logical outcome in extreme isolation marks the overturning of the ontological self so fundamental to the subjectivity of the Enlightenment man. In Positions, Derrida suggests that the binary opposition in classical thought is nothing short of a “violent hierarchy.” Deconstruction, therefore, means “first of all, [to] overturn the hierarchy at any given moment” (Derrida, Positions 41). To do the overturning well, one should continue “to operate on the terrain of and from within the deconstructed system” so as to “[bring] ← 71 | 72 → low what was once high” and bring forth a new...
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