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Levi-Strauss in a Garden of Millet: The Structural Analysis of a Zulu Folktale

W. D. Hammond-Tooke
Man
New Series, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Apr., 1977), pp. 76-86
DOI: 10.2307/2800995
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2800995
Page Count: 11
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Levi-Strauss in a Garden of Millet: The Structural Analysis of a Zulu Folktale
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Abstract

The Levi-Straussian approach to the study of myth is still the subject of lively debate. On the one hand the epistemology of the basic assumptions and analytical procedures has been criticised, on the other the method, where applied, has never failed to produce insights. An early-recorded Zulu 'folk-tale' is subjected to structural analysis. A clear structure emerges in which the two sections of the myth appear as transformations of one another and the basic shifts in the narrative are presided over by mediators. It is suggested that the 'message' is a subliminal attempt to mediate between the strong Freudian drives towards incest and the strict incest and exogamy rules of Zulu culture.

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