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Behind The Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column
By Michael G'Francisco


First, let's understand the word "deconstruction". It simply means to take something apart and in the literary sense its meaning is to "overturn" all the binary oppositions of the peaceful coexistence of a "vis-à-vis rather than with a violent hierarchy. To be more specific, when is a story's hero not a hero?

When deconstruction is applied to certain aspects of fiction, it flushes out the question, "How would the situation turn out if play out with real life consequences applied to it?" In fiction it often reveals things that we weren't thinking about, such as, a main character regurgitating him or her to reveal the good or bad side of their projected persona.

The reason fictive deconstructions often turn out as they do is that fiction by its definition virtually ignores anything that isn't specifically included, while hiding something that is included, but not spelled out.

The deconstruction process can reveal a "trope" (a word or phase in a sense different from its ordinary meaning) or a stable of fiction as false, unrealistic or even horrible.

Deconstruction of a "trope" is usually intentional for ironic or satirical purposes and is explored in great detail to show what circumstances manifest in real life and always reveals flaws, which lie beneath, such as, the true hidden secrets of alcoholism, adultery and mental disorder of a story's main character--- to name a few.

Some writers are inspired to degrade yesterday's fiction heroes. Why? Their concern is with the theoretical knowledge of "genre deconstruction" or "genre busting".

An early example of genre deconstruction is director Robert Aldrich's adoption of Mickey Spillane's 1955 detective novel "Kiss Me Deadly" in which Aldrich completely destroys Spillane's womanizing hero Mike Hammer in an ending never seen in a film before. This film describes and tracks Hammer as one of the most sleaziest and brutal fiction detectives who becomes a self-righteous avenger.

A later year excellent example is author's Alan Moore 1986-87 series "The Watchmen". Morre's contemporary novel was written to reflect the anxieties and to critique the superhero concept.

To give a brilliant definition and depth to the novel artist Dave Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout with recurring symbols. Its illustrations are nothing less than the work of a genius.

"The Watchmen" is often hailed by critics and reviewers as the greatest comic book and graphic novel of all times. Ah, but alas, to receive the true value of this literary work one must read it at least three times. Why? Because it uses the "MacGuffin" technique.

I know, your thinking, what in Sam Hill is a "MacGuffin"? In theory, it's a "side track", or something not at all relevant to the story or plot, but placed in an obvious way to distract and usually has no significance to the subject matter of the story or plot.

This style or technique is probably the creation of "Alfred Hitchcock" and was first introduced in his 1935 novel "The 39 Steps".

"RECONSTRUCTION", is not as complicated as "DECONSTRUCTION". Again, Why? Because it is when a "trope" is put back together, usually in a way it enhances the "trope". Cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction are basically how a genre or trope evolves.

Now, go softly into the night. mgf

Comments always welcome
Email: Michael, Behind the Fiction

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