22. GOLDILOCKS MEETS OEDIPUS (4/28)
Useful to work thru analysis of one myth. In this case not really myth in strict sense but
published tale, “Goldilocks.” Amusing and provocative analysis by Eugene Hammel,
meant to show what L-S’s structural myth analysis like, its utility.
Really just one
variant, one take on L-S, but useful place to begin.
H offers 2 kinds of analysis, one sequential thru story, other relations between elements
in story regardless of sequence. The first really more like Propp, the latter like L-S.
says that story highly patterned, more like a fugue than a messy narrative.
If one reads
out loud, this is evident. H says this is much of the appeal of story, appeals to our
In fact, one of the innovations in analysis is H’s insistence that at some level we
appreciate structure. It is not myths thinking themselves in us but we thinking myths,
structuring them even if we are not consciously aware of it.
In very interesting way, H
examines changes in the story to show that it becomes more structured over time.,
So in the “syntagmatic structure,” we get three major episodes, with bears only, Goldie
only, and the two together. The second and third episodes are broken down into sub-
episodes with porridge, chairs, and beds respectively.
And all three episodes have
divisions between Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear.
Q. How persuasive do you find this?
For most people, seems intuitively good, but not really L-S’s kind of analysis, more
The paradigmatic structure, more like L-S.
Says elements in story divide into objects
and beings, natural and cultural.
For cultural beings and natural objects, there is only
one, Goldie and Honey. For natural beings and cultural objects, they are divided into
threes. Natural beings are differentiated according to size, cultural objects according to
levels of activity. These entities are then arranged into diagrams of relationships between
Q. This is ingenious, but do we buy it?
You all are “natives”, who know the story from
your own experience, most of you from your own childhoods---does it fit with your ideas
Q. Do you agree with how he reads the elements?
Specifically, is the honey as important
as H suggests?
Most students say it is not that crucial, not even in a lot of versions we
have heard as children. H sees honey as completing structure, but even when it is there, it
may not necessarily be an important part of structure.
Q. How about the objects being differentiated by activity?
not very persuasive.