I had a really hard time with the last assignment. My problem was not so much with the Structuralist aspects of the assignment. I feel reasonably confident about Structuralism and how it works (check out my earlier post on Structuralism if you need a bit of help understanding it – it’s tough!). No, my problem was in trying to find the overall significance of the “Sleeping Giant” myth.
As I understand it, Structuralists are looking at the basic skeleton of the myth; they are not concerned with meaning. So how exactly do you come up with “the fundamental concern that the myth articulates” using Structuralism?
I agonized over this part of the assignment all weekend. I talked to some friends about it, but even they couldn’t really help me. In the end, I looked at the underlying structure of the myth and from that I tried to come up with the myth’s fundamental concern. The myth had four underlying discourses that I identified: rewards, warnings/consequences, trickery and greed. In my case, based on these four parts, I thought that the myth was concerned with keeping and coveting a secret.
I’m still not convinced that Structuralists would be concerned with meaning, but in this case, linking secrets as the underlying meaning seemed to work.