“Although it is not commentary, our reading must be intrinsic and remain within the text. That is why, in spite of certain appearances, the locating of the word supplement is here not at all psychoanalytical, if by that we understand an interpretation that takes us outside of the writing toward a psychobiographical signified, or even toward a general psychological structure that could rightly be separated from the signifier” (1692).
Aside from this being the longest sentence in history, there seems to be a solid point made here in terms of Derrida’s theory on reading within the text. He states in this section that the reader must “close read” in a way, and only base the criticism off internal investigation, leaving out external forces. Through the close reading of specific words, in this example “supplement” from Rousseau’s text, it may lead the critic toward an outer theory, such as psychoanalytic.
This section is problematic for me, in that it feels as though Derrida is not fully grasping his main point of pulling away from the author and only investigating the text to deconstruct. It seems that he is saying that through this deconstructive process, the reader may transcend into another external source in order to fully break down the meaning of the text. I find it hard to believe that through close reading and completely separating oneself from outside signifiers and meaning, that a reader can fully investigate the true nature of the literature. In my opinion, it felt as though Derrida speaks against himself in this section and in deconstructing he was lead to a psychoanalytical reading, although he wishes to dismiss this notion. It seems impossible to me to fully grasp literature in a closed box and deconstruct the meanings without any external knowledge. In fact, Derrida admits that we all attach certain meanings to all symbols in language, therefor, I don’t see how one can fully separate oneself from external sources when reading literature.
In theory, deconstruction seems like a good idea on a small scale. I can’t see applying deconstruction theory throughout an entire text without sounding as if, as a critic, you a merely reading “against the grain” for the sake of being different. Practicality does call for some close reading, and some texts do lend well to this theory, especially if you can point out specific instances of inconsistencies.