The purpose of this assignment is to write an essay with a thesis that is supported with evidence.
- Claude Lévi-Strauss “The Structural Study of Myth”
- Michel Foucault “What is an Author?”
- Plato’s The Symposium.
At its core, structuralism and deconstruction theorists attempt to analyze the patterns of language, discourse, and any texts and argue that there is no truth outside of discourse. It is only within discourse (or dialogue) that claims can be made, taken-apart, formulated, and doubted in order to ‘playfully’ attempt to find any meaning at all.
Using either Strauss’s or Foucault’s text, answer the following:
What can we learn if we read The Symposium with a structuralist or deconstructionist theoretical framework?
- Please type three to four pages of double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font
- Use one-inch margins
- Include an original title
- Include a thesis with one claim and one rationale
- Quote from Strauss or Foucault and Plato
- For this essay, write from third person perspective
- Avoid second-person perspective
Responding critically in this context means you look closely at logic, rhetoric, theory, metaphor, analogies, symbols, language, gender, ‘structures,’ opinions, beliefs, feelings, the mind, the setting (the context), the culture, and any other linguistically charged letter, word, or phrase to answer the question above.
- Begin by introducing the author (Plato), the title of the text, and a summary of how he utilizes language, structures, logic, or patterns.
- Then, clearly state your thesis at the end of your introduction.
- In the body of your essay, introduce the author (either Strauss or Foucault), the title of his text, and then provide your reasons to support your thesis (make your thesis believable).
- You should clearly state and develop one reason per paragraph.
- Remember to provide specific evidence (quotes) from the text(s). Let the quotes support your answer to the question, not the other way around.
- Conclude your essay by echoing your thesis and leave your reader to believe how or why it is important or not to read The Symposium through a structuralist or deconstructionist theoretical framework.
If you get stuck when writing, give yourself a break. Walk away from your work for a bit, have a stretch, close your laptop, discuss out-loud what you want to write, talk to someone about your ideas and have that person ask you questions that will challenge your opinions and assumptions until you feel confident that you ‘discovered’ the words you want to use.