International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Notion of Différance in Donald Bartheleme's Short Stories: “Nothing: A Preliminary Account” and “Sentence”
Shaghayegh Mohammadi, Zahra Bordbari, Farid Parvaneh

This essay is an attempt to apply the Derridan notion of différance to Barthelme’s two short stories entitled “Nothing: A Preliminary Account” (1987) and “Sentence” (2003). The research seeks to illustrate that everything is the victim of language plays. Accordingly, as long as différance is one of those plays, it is going to be deconstructed within the stories by its own jeux. Through “Nothing: A Preliminary Account”, the discussion is sought after making a threshold from which language could be seen as the major problem of our world. It does so by constructing the new world of nothing within its story. On the other hand, throughout “Sentence”, our beliefs about construction of any ideological system for defining anything are depicted as false and fake. As one sees the new definition of ‘sentence’ from Barthelme’s outlook, the essay provides the reader to see the arbitrariness of différance world construction from another angel. Furthermore, using deconstruction methodology creates ways to go beyond the world of words; it is like watching language from outer space. Although deconstruction is aware of being trapped within the labyrinthine made by language, it has no other way to use it. In fact, deconstruction cannot use language, but also it cannot not use it. Deconstruction in Barthelme’s stories constructs another world. It puts language under erasure, but at the same time invites the reader to go beyond its world.

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