Volume 17, Issue 65 (2024)                   LCQ 2024, 17(65): 93-133 | Back to browse issues page

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bahadori R, sadeghi naghdali olya F. A Post-Structuralistic Reading of Mohammad-Reza Shams' Selected Works. LCQ 2024; 17 (65) :93-133
URL: http://lcq.modares.ac.ir/article-29-72492-en.html
1- Phd of Persian language and literature, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.
2- Assistant Professor of Persian language and literature, Payame Noor university, Tehran, Iran. , sadeghifatemeh@pnu.ac.ir
Abstract:   (810 Views)
Due to the temporal gap between the author's childhood and that of the child reader, children's literature defies age limits and thus exemplifies crossover literature. Post-structural criticism and deconstruction are amongst critical approaches that can spotlight such contradictory gaps in a text. Mohammad-Reza Shams is a distinguished and influential icon in contemporary Iranian children's literature. In this research, a selection of his works has been examined by using Derrida's deconstructive approach. This research has applied a descriptive and interpretive method with purposeful sampling. Deconstructive features such as binary oppositions, indecidability, aporia, intertextuality, deauthorization, and iterability have been traced in Shams' works. Intertextuality seems to be the dominant deconstructive feature in his fictional world. The findings of this research indicate that Shams' works expose readers to multiple meaning and confront them with the unending chain of signifiers. Intertextual fluidity and multiple layers of meaning in Shams' fiction reveal that the implied reader of his works far from being a passive consumer of the text, is actively involved in the process of meaning construction.
Extended Abstract
What makes "children literature" different from "adult literature" is the role and position of the audience in children's literature. The creators of literature that is characterized by the childishness of the audience are adults who maintain their authoritative relationship in the work unintentionally. This point will inevitably lead to two-sidedness of children's literature. One of the methods that can provide a proper analysis of children's literature texts and respond to the dual confrontations of children's literature and at the same time show its depth is Derrida's deconstruction.
Using the method of deconstruction in the analysis of literary texts does not mean the destruction of meaning, but the concept of describing the instability and pluralism on which the foundations of the texts are formed. In this research, we intended to examine the selected works of Mohammad Reza Shams, with a poststructuralist reading and Derrida's deconstruction approach. He is one of the prominent authors in the field of children's and adolescent literature. Mohammad-Reza Shams has tried to write differently in his creative works by avoiding stereotypes.
Data and Method
In this research, we examine Derrida's poststructuralist and deconstructionist concepts, including binary oppositions, indecidability, aporia, intertextuality, deauthorization, and iterability and recognize these features and concepts in the selected works of Mohammadreza Shams' works. Mohammadreza Shams has implemented some of Derrida's theories in his creative works.
For this purpose, after the explanation of post-structuralism and Derrida's deconstruction, we have studied the poststructuralist reading of four works written by Mohammad Reza Shams for the teenage age group, from the two perspectives of indication and narrative, in order to show how they deconstruct themselves. These works, which are well attuned to the criticism of Derrida's deconstruction, include: Divāneh and Chāh; Sobhāne-ye Khiāl; Man, Man-e Kale Gonde; Man Zan-Bābā o Damāq-e Bābā.
Results and Discussion
The post-structuralist reading of texts can be done from the two perspectives of indication and narration. In the deconstruction of signification, the endless reference of signifier brings about the plurality of meaning and the birth of meaning; therefore, it includes the components of binary oppositions, indecidability, aporia, all of which indicate the absence of ultimate meaning. The deconstruction of binary oppositions questions the concepts derived from metaphysical thinking and creates a new interpretation. In the studied works of Shams, the author has tried to present a different and new interpretation by collapsing the opposites of sane/insane, man/his shadow, death/life, text/margin and man/woman.
indecidability opens the way for any decision and gives it the possibility to be different. In the works of Shams, there are many characters who are stuck in their affairs and do not have the ability to make decisions, and this inability sometimes involves the narrator as well. Aporia are the blind spots that prevent definitive meaning, and the text remains uninterpretable, like secrets that remain unsealed and questions that are never answered. In the works of Shams, there are many behaviors that have no reason and relationships whose nature is ambiguous. There are many questions that remain unanswered.
In the deconstruction of the narrative, the narrative is just one of the infinity of narratives that are being built and destroyed one after another. Shams usually does not use linear narration and cause and effect logic in his works, and the circular structure is usual in his works. In his works, we are usually faced with several narratives, and sometimes a part of the narrative can be removed without adversely affected the entire narrative; the seeming insignificance of the story itself and the importance of its plot and how to narrate it by choosing a non-linear, complex and irregular method are some of the features that perceived in some of Shams' narratives. The components that are investigated in this context are intertextuality, de-authorization and iterability.
In general, intertextuality means that no speech or writing creates meaning by itself, but its meaning is created by referring to other speeches and writings. The intertextuality in Shams' works are generally references to proverbs, folk tales, stories of prophets, characters from the Shāhnāmeh and other literary works, sometimes they refer to other works of the author himself.
In de-authorization, attention is directed from the author to the text. Therefore, it is no longer possible to claim that the text has a center or a point that can be considered the origin; the text is a combination of pre-existing fragments of text. The existence of this point of view in post-structuralism degrades the position of the author. Sometimes, by leaving the work of art incomplete or expressing the inability to create, the artist himself attested the invalidity of the author's role; In this situation, the text ends in a way that gives the reader the opportunity of different readings, or in the text, different endings are put in front of the reader to choose from. We see both modes in the works of Shams. In all these stories, we are facing an open ending. Sometimes this open ending is clearly stated in the text.
Iterability is the repetitions that are both similar to the repeated sign and different from it and make the reader continue reading; each repetition produces a difference. It can be said that Shams intends to establish a link between the scattered pieces of the narrative by bringing the repeated scenes, dialogues or events in his long stories. In addition to recurring factors in a story, some scenes or themes are repeated in several works of Shams, which is a sign of infinity. The existence of this feature keeps the narratives from being straightforward and definiteness.
The temporal gap between the author and the audience leads to two-sidedness of children's literature and adds to its complexity; however, this duality itself can cause binary oppositions and multiple meanings. One of the approaches of literary criticism that can show this duality is post-structuralism and Derrida's deconstructive approach. In this way of reading, new meanings and interpretations of the text show themselves and it leads to pluralization and generation of meaning. Mohammad-Reza Shams, one of the prominent writers in the field of children and adolescence literature, has tried to write differently in his authored and creative works by avoiding stereotypes.
In addition to the fact that the presence of components of deconstruction in the works causes multiplicity, discontinuity, and birth of meaning, the structure of the stories is also generally in a form that allows the reader the possibility of different readings. Sometimes the author gives several endings for the stories and gives the reader the right to choose. In the most cases, by leaving the narrative unfinished, he gives the reader the chance to determine the end of the narrative at his own will.
The plurality of meanings in Shams' works provides the possibility of several different interpretations for the reader. In fact, the works of Mohammad-Reza Shams directs the reader towards the plurality of meanings and the continuous generation of meanings by taking advantage of these indicative and narrative features. The intertextual fluidity and multiple layers of meaning in these works indicate that the hidden audience of the text is not a static consumer, but plays an effective and dynamic role in constructing the meaning of the text.
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Structural critique
Received: 2023/11/18 | Accepted: 2024/05/19 | Published: 2024/04/29

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