Deconstruction of fictional writing: an analysis of Premchand’s short story

  • Mr. Shahzad Farid PhD Scholar (Sociology), International Islamic University, Islamabad
  • Dr. Syed Amir Sohail Professor Department of Urdu and Iqbaliat, Islamia University, Bahawalpur


The deconstruction, primarily, aims to analyze linguistic philosophy with the purpose to explore the existing pre-supposed truths in the text. We aimed to apply the method on fiction writings. In order to do so, we devised a method named “a restricted method to deconstruct a text (RMDT)” which confines the grammatological analysis to its imperative postulates. The methods was applied on a fictional story of Premchand i.e. یہی میرا وطن ہے. We explored that the writing is exposed to logos’ influence, phonocentrism and hierarchies of binary oppositions, which revealed that the text is theological. However, Premchand desired to disseminate patriotism, the nostalgic one, through the story.


1. The pharmakon is a Greek word that includes among its meanings poison, medicine, magic potion. It is a word used to describe writing in Plato's Phaedrus.
2. He was inspired from Nietzsche because his writing is not “subordinate[d] to the logos and to truth” (Derrida, 1976, p. 17, brackets added).
3. From pre-Socrates to Aristotelian philosophy of language to the Hegelian and Post Hegelian i.e. Rousseau, history of metaphysics of language, even Saussure due to his concept of signifier which expose that a written signifier is derivative (or is a secondary) of signified (Derrida, 1976, p. 11-12).
4. Derrida (1976) argued, “The formal essence of the signified is presence, and the privilege of its proximity to the logos as phonè is the privilege of presence” (p. 18).
5. Logocentrism is phonocentrism, that is to say, speech is superior to language. It implies that written signifier are derived from speech. However, speech is also a signifier of a signified, say an idea. Therefore, writing is “signifier of signifier” (p. 7). Thus, writing is derivative of speech. The writing is also associated with absence because speech assumes the simultaneous presence of a speaker and a listener whereas writing does not imply the same. Because logocentrism preferred speech, writing has been treated as secondary in Western philosophy. It also implies the preference of logos in the history of western philosophy. Such ideas is the heritage of western philosophy and it is captive of logocentric signified or logocentric ideas and thoughts.
6. The argument of Thoman Aquinas that ““being” is the first intellect of human intelligence” (Kemple, 2017).
7. The logo, the metaphor, is comprehensible through the quotations Derrida gave in of Gramatology (1976)–in which Rabbi Eliezer said that the Torah “inexhaustible”; Galileo said The Book of Nature is written in mathematical language and so on – and said, “Writing in the common sense is the dead letter, it is the carrier of death. It exhausts life. On the other hand, on the other face of the same proposition, writing in the metaphoric sense, natural, divine, and living writing, is venerated; it is equal in dignity to the origin of value, to the voice of conscience as divine law, to the heart, to sentiment, and so forth” (Derrida, 1976, p. 17). It shows the preference of logos in writing. Precisely, the meanings which are “the presupposed, pre-established, pre-determined” (Derrida, 1976, p. 17).
8. “For a proper understanding of the gesture that we are sketching here, one must understand the expressions "epoch," "closure of an epoch," "historical genealogy" in a new way; and must first remove them from all relativism” (Derrida, 1976, p. 14).
9. This dichotomies that Derrida drew is for him is the tradition of western philosophy, especially of Plato, Rousseau and Saussure.
10. It is labelled interior because speech has been treated closer to a signified than writing in the Western philosophy.
11. Derrida stated that the teleological interpretation of phonetic writing in comparison with system of spoken language – which described nonphonetic in writing as crisis – is “Western ethnocentrism” (Derrida, 1976, p. 40).
12. However, “Writing is one of the representatives of the trace in general, it is not the trace itself. The trace itself does not exist(Derrida, 1976, p. 167).
13. At one place he said that writing is the substitutive name of différance(Derrida, 1976, p. 268) but, in some special conditions, it is also Supplement (Derrida, 1976, p. 150).
14. Differance is therefore the formation of form (Derrida, 1976, p. 63).
15. The word used by Aristotle in his Physic IV(271b). Derrida also labelled it with different names such as “an interminable experience” (Derrida, 1993, p. 16), “impasse”, “no limits” (p. 20), … aporia, the impossible, the antinomy, or the contradiction, is a nonpassage because its elementary milieu does not allow for something that could be called passage, step, walk, gait, displacement, or replacement, a kinesis in general. There is no more path (odos, methodos, weg, or Holzweg). The impasse itself would be impossible. The coming or the future advent of the event would have no relation to the passage of what happens or comes to pass. In this case, there would be an aporia because there is not even any space for an aporia…” (p. 21). With respect to Aristotle’s term, he also described apoira as, “I’ stuck, I cannot get out, I’m helpless” (p. 13).
16. The open defecation is not a cultural practice but theological because in conservative Indian Hinduism, toilet to build in home is prohibited.
17. In Margins of Philosophy ([1972] 1982, p. 149), Derrida quoted two prominent philosophers of linguistics to show the preference of speech in the philosophy. Derrida quoted, Saussure: "Language and writing are two distinct systems of signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first." Rousseau: "Languages are made to be spoken, writing serves only as a supplement of speech. . . writing is only the representative of speech." Saussure: "Whoever says that a certain letter must be pronounced in a certain way is mistaking the written image of a sound for the sound itself. . . To attribute this oddity [bizarrerie] to an exceptional pronunciation is also misleading" (p. 30). Rousseau: "Writing is only the representation of speech; it is odd [bizarre] that more care is taken to determine the image than the object."
18. With respect to the analysis presented in the article, one may argued that RMDT is more like Saussurean structural analysis than deconstructive in its spirit because the meaning in the analysis were derived from the context of each sentence or paragraphs. It is a point of misconception because following what Derrida said, “No context can determine meaning to the point of exhaustiveness” (Derrida, 1993, p. 09) focused in the analysis wherein the vocabulary was not dissected in relation with the intrinsic meaning or the meaning in dictionary or the meaning confined in the context but the presuppositions of the text and the rivalries of the meanings the author attempted to convey with the meanings it was conveying such as the rivalry between the patriotic spirit which Premchand struggled to proposed and the theological inclination of the author which exposed itself in the selected vocabulary. The analysis was also not restricted to the apparent text, that is the text itself, rather the meanings were described also as the historical gestures were prescribed with them such as the meaning of the scene: women heading towards open defecation.