Literary criticism provides methods for closely analyzing texts, from parsing and linguistics to the philosophically influenced methods of cultural theory. Scholars in the humanities have long studied the complexities of narrative, eventually distinguishing the field of narratology and that of narrative theology, where the critic looks at how the elements of the narrative convey theological meaning. Textual analysis involves identifying components of a text, from the overall structure and its respective elements, to the function and force of a particular word or phrase. Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913), theorist and linguist, began the movement called structuralism, which developed from the fields of linguistics and anthropology over roughly the first half of the twentieth century. Structuralism, with its search for an ultimate or collective structure in language, led to the conclusion that meaning did not depend on a transcendental or metaphysical structure but lay within a closed structure of signs. This key point contained the seeds of deconstruction and cultural theory, simply put, that meaning is constructed and that social constructs can be deconstructed. Deconstruction itself was dominated by the philosopher Jacques Derrida. His significant impact on philosophy in the U.S. dates from a landmark lecture he delivered at John Hopkins in 1967. Among the concepts Derrida either introduced into textual analysis or shaped in a new way is that of the subtext—a key element in differentiating the voice of the author from that of the subject. 1 When our study refers to the process of deconstructing a text, it denotes the literary method that discerns the elements of the text and how they contribute to its impact. By reading texts from this approach, we discover that narratives from medieval and modern sources reveal surprisingly consistent elements and narrative patterns that provide a 51framework for comparing violence across various periods. From this deconstructive point of view, a reader asks what and who are omitted from the text, what is the subtext, whose point of view is included, whose is neglected, and which viewpoint predominates in telling the story.