Deconstructionist Literature Thesis

Thesis writing, especially a literature thesis is not as difficult as it looks. In fact, it’s fairly simple, especially if you take a deconstructionist approach to the writing. There are only a few base components to keep in mind, and they apply to almost any kind of literary analysis.

  1. Literature is subjective. When dealing with symbolism and imagery in a text, everyone can interpret it differently. It’s up to you as the writer of a thesis to make your case for a particular interpretation of any given text.

  2. The text is not isolate. If you take the deconstructionist approach to a literature thesis, barring instructions to the contrary, you can and should use intertextuality to supplement your arguments. Use what you know about an author and his or her motivations to contextualize the work.

  3. Organize yourself. Instead of organizing your thesis the way you might for a history paper (chronologically) or any other paper with an argumentative thesis statement (strongest points first), you should focus your literature paper on a flow similar to that of the text. Your ideas should begin with your clearest and build from there, growing more and more focused in their arguments.

  4. Always identify your position. Not only identify your opinion on a text or a text’s interpretation, but acknowledge indirectly the way your own biases affect the way you view a work. Though you should not be part of the analysis unless you’ve been given instructions to do so or are offering a comparison to your own life in some way, you should still make every effort to inhabit your work.

  5. Be part of the paper. Your literature thesis, which is intertextual in nature and bridges the gap between the reader and the text, should also bridge the gap between yourself and your reader. You are effectively doing the same thing you do in an argumentative thesis, but in this kind of paper, your argument revolves around a text instead of political or moral issue. Your goal is to inform the reader not only of the different aspects of the texts, but of the different aspects of your own cultural and social experiences that influence your interpretation of the work.

  6. Inform. Above all else, try to inform the reader. When writing a literature thesis, you are seeking out hidden meanings within the writing, bringing them to the surface, and, most importantly, parsing the information so that the reader can understand what you have purported as the “correct” interpretation of the text.

  7. Use at least two quotes for every argument. If you want to make a point, make sure you have at least two instances within the text that support that statement. Having only one quote (or worse, no quotes at all) makes it harder for your audience to follow your train of thought. You can use other sources that come from outside the text, for instance, statements the author has made or statements made by other scholars, but make sure that you acknowledge these as meta-text and retain two quotes from the original.

So long as you follow these simple instructions, writing a deconstructionist literature thesis should be easy and informative.