In class for the past few weeks, we've been working on critical theory projects. In those projects, we had to write a paper connecting our critical theory to whatever play we chose to work with. My group in particular chose to connect the critical theory of deconstruction to the play King Lear, by Shakespeare.
Writing our group paper was a bit of a challenge, since there were four people writing one paper. However, we managed to pull it off. We each had a paragraph or two to write, and when we finished writing our individual thoughts, we looked at them all and tried to tie them together so that our paper would look like the paper had one author and had a nice flow to it. It took teamwork to make one paper with four people, and I think our group did that pretty well.
Like our paper, our presentation would not have had a nice flow without teamwork and communication. In order to have our presentation look like one presentation and not just four different presentations in one slide show, we had to make group decisions on how our presentation was going to look. Whenever we were going to make a change to the presentation, we talked about what we all individually thought about the idea. We did not talk about every single little edit that we were going to make, since that would be quite unnecessary. We just needed to communicate our ideas with each other, and discuss any big changes in the presentation. With our communication and teamwork, we managed to pull off the difficult task of making a group presentation, along with a group paper.
This week we worked more on our theory projects. My group chose to do deconstruction, and we chose to look at Shakespeare's "King Lear". On Thursday, a guest speaker came into our class and went around talking to every group about their plans for their projects.
When she came to my group's table, she helped us understand more about what deconstruction is. She told us how we should focus on the word "nothing" when deconstructing "King Lear". It was really interesting to hear what she had to say about deconstruction. It was a little different from what I originally thought deconstruction was. From the start I new that deconstruction meant taking something apart, so we were going to look into the thought processes behind the actions in the characters in King Lear, focusing on Edmond.
As the guest speaker talked to us, my group realized that deconstruction was not just about breaking down the actions that took place in a story, but it was also looking more in detail at the language, and how that affects the story.
We talked about how the same word or phrase could be interpreted in completely different ways. For example, in "King Lear", when the king asked his youngest daughter to tell him how much she loved him, she said there was nothing she could say. She meant that nothing could describe how much she loved him, because she loved him so much. However, the king took it in a totally different way. He thought she was saying that there was nothing she could say to him about how much she loved him because there was no love to talk about. Of course that is not what she meant, but that was how King Lear took it. Because of that different interpretation, everything fell apart. So really, "nothing" is what destroyed the lives of many people in "King Lear".