Continuing my stroll down memory lane in old school folders, here’s a Doctor Seuss style poem about literary theory that I wrote for a discussion board during my undergrad years. My professor must have forgiven my sometimes off rhyme scheme because I got an A.
One day Saussuure said, this is what I will do
I will outline this structuralist theory for you
to knock down this formalist hullaballo
We’ll study “la langue” like French and Urdu
And find the connections with Culler’s choo choo
The Russians chimed in, with their folklore and such
To find common factors like heroes who lust
And fair virgin maidens, their hankies they clutch
To their pale, heaving bosoms, some might call their bust
But the point, mainly, find the structure, we must
Then Levi-Strauss laid his tenets down
He didn’t make jeans, but connections profound
And he spoke about myth from a sacred ground
And folks gathered to partake of his mythical sounds
To hear the mythemes from this Frenchman’s mound.
Then Derrida jumped in with his figurative wrench
To beat down the walls of these obscure French
(though he was French, too, but his stock was the best)
But here was his light to show us the blessed
Way to achieve purity in meaningless.
See, Derrida believed in knocking down walls
And not seeing shadows in dimly lit halls
No meaning, no meaning for one and for all
Crush the structuralists by their literate balls
And wipe out logocentrism once and for all
Language is fluid, like milkshakes and sex
And Derrida said to completely tear down the text
And poke your finger into the flaming wrecks
And come up with your own meaning in flotsam and flecks
Before moving on the the next or the next.