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Word Count: 894
Reading Poes The Purloined Letter The central concern in reading Poes The Purloined Letter lies in the very purloined letter in question how it is displaced from its assigned origin and since a letter always arrives at its destination as Lacan believes how it must be redirected back to its proper end The purloined letter might then be seen as the center of the story The Purloined Letter and the whole narrative a structure in search of its missing center Is the search a successful one This is the question I would like to discuss The Prefects search is a disastrous failure and to account for his failure I turn to Derridas ideas of structure According to Derrida philosophy with its reliance on the determination of Being as presence has rendered a structure without a center thinkable There is always a transcendental signified an authorizing center and in order to set up the anchoring point to which our language experience and thought can refer an organized structure must be built up first to bind things into a closed hierarchy The eitheror principle of non-contradiction is then employed to supervise the establishment of such a hierarchical structure If the notion of a fixed center spawns an organized structure that in turn fathers the binary scheme of thought then it follows that the construction of binary oppositions would eventually lead to the presence of the center This is the guiding principle for the Prefects search Suggestions from the hero-detective Dupin that simplicity might contribute to perplexity and that total exposure could be perfect concealment are laughed away from the outset by the Prefect who takes great pride in the fact that we have accurate rules His rules however are those of non-contradiction and rules for drawing clear-cut boundaries and constructing hierarchies We divided its entire surface into compartments which we numbered so that none might be missed then we scrutinized each individual square inch
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