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Post Structuralism- the Bound Man Essay

  • Submitted by: dolphinsmarlins1
  • on September 9, 2013
  • Category: English
  • Length: 786 words

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Below is an essay on "Post Structuralism- the Bound Man" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Post-structuralist Commentary: The Bound Man


According to Peter Barry, “deconstructive reading uncovers the unconscious rather than the conscious dimension of the text” (68).   With this in mind, the word "bound” plays an integral role within Aichinger’s short story that may suggest more than the surface implies.   On the exterior, bound leaves the reader to believe that the main character is bound in a restricted way.   He is limited in his mobility in the physical sense, only able to move when he “put one foot before another if he lifted each foot a definite distance from the ground and then put it down before the rope tautened” (10).   His ability to maneuver despite the restriction of the ropes becomes the focal point in the story and his act in the circus.   At the same time, the multifaceted aspect of bound presents itself in a rather contradictory manner. While most would spurn the idea of being tied up, the protagonist seems to relish it.   In fact, he practiced his routine of bounded movements “in order to retain his shackled freedom” (11).

This conflicting notion of freedom develops throughout the story.   In the beginning, the reader gets exposed to the first hints of this relaxed attitude of restricted freedom when the man shows “no sign of fear or hurry” and actually smiles (9).   As his comfort with the ropes increases, it becomes part of his identity.   The reader learns that he was fully capable of freeing himself if he chose to do so; however, “when the show was over he did not take off his rope,” like the other circus performers (12).   One of the more paradoxical lines that further demonstrates his binding freedom reads, “the thought of losing his rope, about which he had felt indifferent earlier in the season, now depressed him” (14).   Indifference aligns with how his character is perceived in the beginning stages of the story.   While being bound doesn’t bother him, neither does it necessitate his existence.   The word depressed shows that...

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