Study Guide

figurative language in Poststructuralism

figurative language

Now that we've looked at three readings straight from the horses' mouths (erm...so to speak), it's time we ventured off into the uncharted wilderness. Let's take a look at a poem that the major poststructuralist writers haven't interpreted for us already: Wallace Stevens's "Anecdote of the Jar." Stevens is a notoriously complex and difficult poet, so it makes sense that his writings would give us something great to sink our teeth into.

Before we get into it, let's figure out what we're trying to do here.

Poststructuralist readings tend to do one or all of these things:

  • a) prove that a piece of lit just so happens to be a perfect illustration of a flaw at the heart of Western thought;
  • b) prove that a piece of lit just so happens to be a perfect illustration of how signification works;
  • c) show how language always undoes its own meaning;
  • d) make dirty puns about sex (tee hee!);
  • e) expose relationships between language and power.

So what'll it be this time? Shmoopers, spin that wheel!