Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (2013 1 ed). p. 235.
Deconstruction and a focus on the materiality of writing have also been important for Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s theories of Signifyin(g) (see Chapter 14). In fact, Derrida's own writing often Signifies on the subjects he is addressing—which is one reason many people find Derrida's writing rather difficult.
Are there examples where Derrida's Signifying makes something readable unreadable?
IF you look up ''signifying'' in a dictionary, you'll find a set of definitions. If you hear the word used by a black person, chances are you'll need something more than a dictionary to understand what the speaker means. The word ''signifying'' is situated where Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his new book situates the critic of comparative black literature, ''at a sort of crossroads, a discursive crossroads at which two languages meet, be these languages Yoruba and English, or Spanish and French, or even (perhaps especially) the black vernacular and standard English.''
To identify the concept of signifying drawn from Afro-American oral tradition and signal its difference from, as well as convergence with, another universe of discourse, Mr. Gates employs a capital letter to distinguish black usage: Signifying. Since this seemingly innocent naming - assigning upper case to black, lower case to white - also implies hierarchy and pecking order, it is itself an example of Signifying. Signifying is verbal play - serious play that serves as instruction, entertainment, mental exercise, preparation for interacting with friend and foe in the social arena. In black vernacular, Signifying is a sign that words cannot be trusted, that even the most literal utterance allows room for interpretation, that language is both carnival and minefield.