It is impossible to read with all the blinders off, but deconstructive theory suggests reading skeptically in an attempt not to smooth over the rough and contradictory spots in a text. For those who dislike Paul de Man, deconstructive theory suggests only the melancholic impossibility of any reading as well as the impossibility of ever representing the self in the text.
To the contrary, de Man seeks to problematize and open up a text as fully as possible. If there is a key concept in de Man's methodology it would be in the word rigor
. Our penetration into any text may be accomplished only to the degree by which we rigorously deconstruct its rhetoric, and then perhaps our own rhetoric in turn.
The success with which we represent the "self," particularly important in autobiography, operates on the same principle:
Within the epistemological labyrinth of figural structures, the recuperation of selfhood would be accomplished by the rigor with which the discourse deconstructs the very notion of self. The originator of this discourse is then no longer the dupe of his own wishes..." (Allegories of Reading 173).