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I say what I mean, I mean what I say — A curiouser and curiouser condition of language

Gabrielsen, Ida Hummel LU (2013) LIVK10 20131
Comparative Literature
Abstract
This thesis investigates how the relationship between the said and the meant in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass exposes the paradoxical condition of language. First, the theoretical framework accounts for the theory of language put forth by Jacques Derrida. Here it is concluded that discrepancies between the said and the meant are properties of language. This is due to the paradoxical necessary impossibility of assuming a language structure, context and meaning, and the dissemination of meaning that accompanies every word. Second, in a close-reading of the Alice books, Derrida’s theory of language is set in relation to the texts. This is done by examining how Alice and the inhabitants of Wonderland and the Looking-Glass... (More)
This thesis investigates how the relationship between the said and the meant in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass exposes the paradoxical condition of language. First, the theoretical framework accounts for the theory of language put forth by Jacques Derrida. Here it is concluded that discrepancies between the said and the meant are properties of language. This is due to the paradoxical necessary impossibility of assuming a language structure, context and meaning, and the dissemination of meaning that accompanies every word. Second, in a close-reading of the Alice books, Derrida’s theory of language is set in relation to the texts. This is done by examining how Alice and the inhabitants of Wonderland and the Looking-Glass World treat the relationship between what they say and what they mean. The analysis has thus consisted of three aspects: the use of puns, established expressions, and the notion of mastery of language. Based on the presented material, this study concludes that the paradoxical condition of language is exposed through Alice’s need to assume meaning and context of the words uttered in Wonderland and the Looking-Glass World, however she finds that this can never be ensured. Further, the characters refusal to assume a meaning exposes the necessary impossibility of assumptions. Literal meaning, or one meaning bound to the intention and presence of the speaker is in their view what governs understanding. No assumptions are necessary, as everyone should say what they mean and mean what they say. Still, this unwillingness does not make their intentions the master of meaning, which is exposed by Alice’s simultaneously naïve, questioning and displeased attitude towards the confusions she experiences. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Gabrielsen, Ida Hummel LU
supervisor
organization
course
LIVK10 20131
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Jacques Derrida, language, meaning
language
English
id
3954539
date added to LUP
2013-08-12 12:24:45
date last changed
2013-08-12 12:24:45
@misc{3954539,
  abstract     = {This thesis investigates how the relationship between the said and the meant in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass exposes the paradoxical condition of language. First, the theoretical framework accounts for the theory of language put forth by Jacques Derrida. Here it is concluded that discrepancies between the said and the meant are properties of language. This is due to the paradoxical necessary impossibility of assuming a language structure, context and meaning, and the dissemination of meaning that accompanies every word. Second, in a close-reading of the Alice books, Derrida’s theory of language is set in relation to the texts. This is done by examining how Alice and the inhabitants of Wonderland and the Looking-Glass World treat the relationship between what they say and what they mean. The analysis has thus consisted of three aspects: the use of puns, established expressions, and the notion of mastery of language. Based on the presented material, this study concludes that the paradoxical condition of language is exposed through Alice’s need to assume meaning and context of the words uttered in Wonderland and the Looking-Glass World, however she finds that this can never be ensured. Further, the characters refusal to assume a meaning exposes the necessary impossibility of assumptions. Literal meaning, or one meaning bound to the intention and presence of the speaker is in their view what governs understanding. No assumptions are necessary, as everyone should say what they mean and mean what they say. Still, this unwillingness does not make their intentions the master of meaning, which is exposed by Alice’s simultaneously naïve, questioning and displeased attitude towards the confusions she experiences.},
  author       = {Gabrielsen, Ida Hummel},
  keyword      = {Alice in Wonderland,Through the Looking-Glass,Jacques Derrida,language,meaning},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {I say what I mean, I mean what I say — A curiouser and curiouser condition of language},
  year         = {2013},
}