Date Presented

Spring 4-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robin Bates

Second Advisor

Dr. Leslie Layne

Third Advisor

Dr. Chidsey Dickson


This thesis will develop connections between the decomposition of binaries in the cognitive linguistic model of prototype theory and the deconstructionism of binaries in the literary critical theory of deconstructionism, focusing on Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound to show the operation of the theory in literature and using on Stoppard’s Arcadia as an example of an application of prototype theory as a critical lens. Prototype theory is a linguistically and psychologically-based theory of categorization which rejects the definition of categorization found in classical theory. Deconstructionism is a reaction to and a partial rejection of structuralism, and teaches that language deconstructs itself through the breakdown of binaries and through a focus on the assumptions made within a text. Both these theories break down the binary conceptualizations in language set up by former theories, while avoiding anti-order by a continued use of binaries in different ways or by a re-ordering into new binaries or into multiplicities. Stoppard, who is often defined as a poststructuralist writer, has often been viewed through the lens of deconstructionism critical theory.1 However, his texts have not before been viewed through the lens of the similar transdisciplinary theory of prototypical categorizations. This thesis will use The Real Inspector Hound as an example of binary breakdown through the text’s overt discussion of binaries, and Arcadia as an example of prototype theory textual analysis through a discussion of the prototypicality of the different kinds of love portrayed in this text.