was interested in studying the relations between signs (or signifiers) in the structure of language, whereas Levi-Strauss concentrates on sets of relations, rather than individual relations - or what he calls "bundles of relations." His example for this is a musical score, consisting of both treble and bass clefs. You can read the music diachronically, left to right, page by page, and you can read it synchronically, looking at the notes in the treble clef and their relation to the bass clef. The connection between the treble and bass clef notes - the "harmony" produced - is what Levi- Strauss calls a "bundle of relations."
Basically, Levi-Strauss' method is this. Take a myth. Reduce it to its smallest component parts - its "mythemes." (Each mytheme is usually one event or position in the story, the narrative, of the myth). Then lay these mythemes out so that they can be read both diachronically and synchronically. The story, or narrative, of the myth exists on the diachronic (left-to-right) axis, in non-reversible time; the structure of the myth exists on the synchronic (up-and-down) axis, in reversible time. In his example of laying out the Oedipus myth this way, he begins to see, in the synchronic bundles of relations, certain patterns developing, which we might call "themes." One such theme is the idea of having some problem walking upright. Levi-Strauss then takes that theme and runs with it, seeing it as an expression of a tension between the idea of "chthonic" (literally, from the underground gods, but here meaning an origin from something else) and "autochthonic" (meaning indigenous or native; here, meaning self-generated) creation. He then sees that tension - or structural binary opposition - as present in myths from other cultures. This, to Levi-Strauss, is the significance of the myth: it presents certain structural relations, in the form of binary oppositions, that are universal concerns in all cultures. This is the subjective part of Levi-Strauss' analysis. We might come up with different interpretations for what he sees in the bundles of relations. For example, we might notice that, in one column are different ideas about walking upright; we might interpret that as an anxiety about physical ability and disability, which is an expression about fitness for survival versus needing charity and kindness, and then read that tension (between selfishness and altruism) as the fundamental structure the myth is articulating.
And here's where you can start to see how this structuralist reading might actually apply to literary interpretation as we know it. Once you've found the mythemes, the constituent units, of a myth or story, and laid them out in Levi-Strauss' pattern, you can interpret them in an almost infinite number of ways. (And that, of course, raises the idea that what you choose as mythemes, or units, and how you lay them out might well vary from person to person, depending on how you read a story. And this raises the idea that structuralism is not in fact so "objective" and "scientific" as it hopes to be, since its basic units aren't self-evident. But Levi-Strauss, like Saussure, doesn't admit that).
After laying out this basic method, Levi-Strauss goes on to talk about perfecting his system to make it useful to anthropologists. We don't have to worry too much about this section (pp.815b-818b in the Routledge edition) because the details he discusses are not as relevant to the analysis of literature as they are to anthropology. In these pages he talks about doing a structural analysis of all possible variations of a myth. This would be desirable because it would prove that all variants really do have the same structure, which goes back to Levi-Strauss' initial point that myth is a language, and that structural analysis can account for any version of a particular myth. To prove his point, he goes into a rather lengthy analysis of a Zuni myth; this uses the same methods as his analysis of the Oedipus myth; he also analyses a Pueblo myth with a similar structure. He concludes that the structural method of myth analysis brings order out of chaos, as it provides a means to account for widespread variations on a basic myth structure, and it "enables us to perceive some basic logical processes which are at the root of mythical thought." This is important to Levi-Strauss because he wants to make the study of myth logical and "scientific" in all its aspects, and not to have to rely on any subjective interpretive factors.
On pages 819-820 Levi-Strauss does a structural reading of a Native American myth and compares it to the story of Cinderella. You might want to think of other myths, or stories, which would lend themselves to similar structural analyses. Levi-Strauss then talks about the permutations of the myth structures he has just analysed as algebraic formulae. There is no need to worry if you do not understand this part - it is not important to the main idea. Levi-Strauss puts this in to insist on the scientific / logical nature of his method: if you can express it in purely mathematical terms, it must be right, and universal, and
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