Addicted: Duplication, Triplication, Quadruplication

It’s like doubling a yield-four recipe for a party of eight: more eggs, more omelettes.  Too, more “same sequence” yields a more structurally- apparent myth.   “Duplication, triplication, and quadruplication of the same sequence” within oral literature is essential to the myth’s structure.  The two work hand in hand and, Levi-Strauss asserted, should be read accordingly, in vertical rows arranged by theme.

Demonstrated by Rumpelstiltskin, the repetition of themes is the growth that develops the myth’s structure.  The theme of loss runs through the start and is revealed though multiple reincarnations, both potential (the Daughter’s potential loss of life if she was to fail her assigned task) and actual (the loss of the Miller’s leg).  The story’s structure is built by this collection of ‘losses.’

Another looming theme in the story is joy, though at the loss of another’s.   In order for there to be a winner, the story needs a loser.  At the story’s close, the Queen redeems her child and is, accordingly, joyous, but only at the cost of the Miller’s happiness (and leg).  Likewise, the King is joyous when he is given boundless access to gold, but that is  accomplished at the cost of the Daughter’s freedom.  Read in the traditional fashion, one mention of the joy-theme exists at the start of the story and the other at its end.  Read Levi-Strauss fashion, mentions of the joy-theme are arranged and read in a single row.

Repetition is the growth that yields Rumpelstiltskin‘s structure and is revealed by ever-apparent, conspicuous duplicated (triplicated, quadruplicated…) themes.  The more, the merrier (and more difficult to miss/mistakenly overlook).

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17 Responses to “Addicted: Duplication, Triplication, Quadruplication”

  1.   Kevin L. Ferguson Says:

    “In order for there to be a winner, the story needs a loser”–this is probably true, at the very least from Saussure’s point of view, where we wouldn’t know what a “winner” was unless we also knew a “loser” (and vice versa). I just think it should have been the King who lost! The poor miller’s daughter and the little manikin had exactly what the other wanted; what better way to define love?

  2.   Henna Says:

    So, you’re suggesting a rearrangement of couples? I’ll see what I can do.

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