Deconstructing Metaphor and Lines from Dracula

DECONSTRUCTION

Name:_________                                                                                           Ms. Fisher/ELA A10

Deconstruction is a strategy for revealing the alternate meaning in a text that was pushed away in order for the text to take its actual form. Texts include resources that will go against the author’s intentions.

  • o   ‘Constructs’ do not exist naturally; they are products of our manipulation.
  • o   We need to realize that there is something wrong or incomplete or dishonest or unintended with how the text is put together.
  • o   Stories are written by everyday people and have unresolved conflicts and contradictory emotions. These tensions and contradictions may reveal what the story is really trying to say.
  • o   Some readers may derive one surface level message from a text, but those who see through that initial disguise will find various meanings in a text.

1. Unpacking metaphors:

Under each, please write the obvious surface meaning, and an unintended meaning that may lie beneath the surface.

“Love is a rose.”

Intended

Unintended

“You are the sunshine of my life.”

Intended

Unintended

 

 

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Intended

Unintended

2. Deconstructing a text:

“Seward: I’m sure you would, my boy. You love her with the warm blood of youth, but don’t forget I love my daughter, too.”

Intended

Unintended

 

“Seward: Yes, he thinks that by absorbing lives he can prolong his own life.”

Intended

 

Unintended

“Renfield: Professor Van Helsing, can you tell me why that one great spider lived for centuries in the tower of the old Spanish church—and grew and grew? He never ate, but he drank, and he drank.”

Intended

 

Unintended

 

“Van Helsing: Ah, Seward, let me remind you that the superstitions of today are the scientific facts of tomorrow.”

Intended

 

Unintended

 

3. Reconsider a reading:

Now, think of Dracula and how it cannot be taken at face value, and maybe reveal internal inconsistencies or unintended conflict. It may have a mixed message or an unintended meaning. On your own or with a partner, please complete the following sentences about Act 1. Hand in this booklet when you are finished. Put your name on the front of the booklet.

When I deconstruct this text, here’s what happen. I think the main idea the author was trying to construct was:

 

But this construct really doesn’t work. The idea falls apart. The language and construction of the text isn’t able to convey what the authors meant to convey. There are placed in the text where it just doesn’t work. For example:

 

So in the end, even though the author meant the work to say:

 

It really said:

 

[Optional] I’d also like to say that:

 

Trial and Error

After reading chapter two in the Methods for Effective Teaching – Knowing the Learners textbook, it was made very clear that students are not going to fit into one distinguishable category. They are going to share bits and pieces of various researched learner types. However, I did notice that they recommend techniques for one type that would also be appealing to another. To me, this means that I don’t necessarily need to incorporate thousands of instructional strategies in my classroom each semester.

While it is important to be able to define these learning categories, the one thing that should not be forgotten is getting to know the students. Friendly chats and classroom observation will reveal a lot more than these cookie cutter categories. Because students are too unique to fall into one, these research ideas are hard to put into practice. Getting to know your students learning needs is a trial and error process. While using the teaching model ideas listed in this article such as having more graphic organizers for ELLs and visual students is a great starting point, there is no saying that those will work. A student that may “fall” into these categories may not respond well or only engages with certain types of organizers.

It is so important to not let ourselves get discouraged when something doesn’t work the way we had expected. We need to smile at our failures and be willing to trash or modify plans as we get to know the different learners who will be present in our classroom. One thing that I learned this semester is to let students in on what you are teaching and use that as a teaching strategy. If students are not left in the dark about the justification for teaching, they will feel more inclined to actively participate in the content provided. This semester I am learning about using literary theory in the English classroom. This was something that we used minimally in my previous experiences and were never directly taught about. However, explaining the theory and applying it makes it more useful to student’s everyday lives. Literary theory can also help depersonalized texts. Having students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures can be challenging when you are picking material and make it difficult to maintain a social justice oriented classroom. However, students can freely examine material with a literary theory lens and not feel pressured by the implications. For example, if you have a small group of students from a lower economic home situation, the Marxist literary theory/social class theory lens can provide a safe environment where students can get to the issues present in the content and not put those students in an awkward place. I feel that these types of strategies are just as important as tailoring lessons to fit visual, textual, kinesthetic, musical…etc. learners. Again, this may sound nice on paper, but the reality is, is that I am going to really commit myself to helping my students and not be afraid to get something wrong.