Tag Archives: myth

Do Meaning and Structuralism Mix?

My one and only shot of a sunrise by the Sleeping Giant

My one and only shot of a sunrise by the Sleeping Giant. This links to my flickr photostream where the image is located.

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.

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