The Precursor of Truth behind the History of the Sign: Henry Louis Gates' "The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique on the Sign and the Signifying Monkey"

Essay by GloriamaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2007

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In Henry Louis Gates' "The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique on the Sign and the Signifying Monkey", he articulates the elements of the writing in texts by blacks and denotes "black difference" in doing so. By trying to make the point that Afro-American authors can write literature to dispel the critics who have previously commented that blacks simply are not capable of writing good literature, he delegates the fact that indeed they can and in proving so, he points out that true origin from which the dominate mindset uses to examine literature is really rooted in African-American ancestry (987-988). Although Gates is not classified as a deconstructionist theorist, he clearly uses the technique to undercut and get to the real history of where word "signifying" means and where it is from. He finds that it happens to be a part of Black English and is a common term used in deconstruction, which clarify and undermine traditional conjectures about identity and truth of meaning found in texts.

Gates wants to establish the understanding in black discourse that has eluded the white man to the fact that the reason being is that they don't speak the same language. In retrospect to find this truth, he does what deconstruction did to structuralism and other theories like it; they questioned them and their findings because the words found in texts only refer to other words, so the deconstructionists, then venture to exhibit how these statements about any text destabilize their own implications. According to the deconstructionist, they argue that there is no meaning in the texts themselves, but only those constructed by the reader in the assortment of the actual texts in the exploration to try to find meaning (R & R 261). Gates takes on this the task to find the...