Ouroboros:
Story Composition and Analysis Using Feng Shui and the Enneagram

© Roger Clough - 7/18/01


Abstract
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footnotes

A method of composing and analyzing stories, here in the form of dramas, is given which combines elements of chinese five-phase and feng shui theory and the enneagram. While feng shui is thought of in terms of interior design, it also provides a map of the life-world. This map is used here to construct drama space. The map consists of nine life-world areas which correspond to the nine enneagram types. These in turn are mapped to the trigrams of the I Ching, so that one can create a drama event by joining a life-world trigram with a personality trigram. A drama consists of a meaningful sequence of such hexagram events. These are given in the form of five-phase rings, each phase associated with a hexagram from the above matrix. Since many users of the enneagram may be unfamiliar with much of this theory, a substantial part of the paper deals with a brief position of it. The theory is then applied to the construction and analysis of dramas with examples. Nowhere in the method is chance employed.

Introduction
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conclusion

Ouroboros is the Gnostic symbol of a snake swallowing its own tail. It represents the constant motion and return to the beginning of the life cycle. It is not only an image of the wheel of life, but the shedding of serpentís skin is symbolic of renewal and rebirth. We make the case here that this cyclic structure is the primordial nature of a story, and relate it directly to the circular structures of the enneagram and chinese five-phase theory.

We define a story as a meaningful sequence of events that is cyclic and consequential. Each of these events consists of a person in a situation. The story itself has a beginning, a middle, and an end [Aristotle]. A story is cyclic, that is, finite, in the sense that there is little or no context before or after it, i.e. it is complete in itself. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, when we arrive at the end, we will know the beginning for the first time (having solved that problem).

The cyclic nature also invokes the image of the mythical snake Ouroboros, swallowing its own tail. In addition to this, a story must have consequences; something vital is at stake.

The range of stories extends from primitive thought, in which according to Levi-Strauss myths of synthesis are developed to remove contradictions in human experience[Wiseman], to everyday experience [Schank], to high literary art forms [Frye]. In everyday use they are believed to make raw experience meaningful by organizing it according to elementary structural forms [Wiseman]. Such structuralization and categorization acts as a mnemonic device to facilitate the storage and retrieval of complex experience to and from memory [Schank]. These structures also make language intelligible (meaningful), and so are implicit even in casual dialog. On the larger scale, language is inextricably linked to culture, and in fact is identical to it [Roy Wagner]. As the renowned AI researcher, Roger Schank, puts it:

..... stories about one's experiences, and the experiences of others, are the fundamental constituents of human memory, knowledge, and social communication. This argument includes three propositions: 1) Virtually all human knowledge is based on stories constructed around past experiences; 2) New experiences are interpreted in terms of old stories; 3) The content of story memories depends on whether and how they are told to others, and these reconstituted memories form the basis of the individual's "remembered" self". Further, shared story memories within social groups define particular social selves, which may bolster or compete with individual remembered selves. [Schank]

Before the invention of the trigrams, feng shui, the ancient chinese art of placement [Moran] used, and still uses, five-phase theory [Twicken], which appears to be the oldest scientific world view in existence. It consists of a ring of five fundamental stages of transformation in nature which turns back on itself so that the processes are continuously cycling. It is thus ecological. We find that stories, which are at least as old as this science, also appear to follow this structure to a remarkable degree. Thus we propose that stories are not only the basis of man's mind and language, but that their structure is in its deepest sense identical to the processes of nature.

Meaningful events in drama have two components, an agent/patient and a situation. Agent/patient are the active/passive modes. Depending on the perspective, either the agent/patient or the situation is text, the other being context. Text and context combine to form meaning. To characterize these events, we use the enneagram personality types as agents/patients and elements of the human life-world, taken from the chinese art of feng shui [Moran], as the situations. There are nine of each type. Agent and situation (text and context) are then integrated into a single entity called a hexagram by associating each type of situation and agent to trigrams of the I Ching. This embeds the agent in a situation of the drama, so that the resultant hexagram becomes what Heidegger [LeMay] referred to as "Dasein", a word he coined to mean "being-there".

Feng shui astrology contains both a personality system [Sandifer, Sachs, Brown] and a system of situations [Moran]. In this paper we use both forms, but in new ways. Instead of physical space, we deal in drama space. And the personality types are found by taking enneagram tests rather than from birth date, as in astrology. This integration of such apparently disparate disciplines would seem to be ill-advised were it not for our finding that, oddly enough, some key structural features of feng shui are remarkably similar to the enneagram. First, feng shui astrology contains a personality typology, types 1-9, which are almost indistinguishable from, and numerically identical to, the enneagram types. Secondly, each of the personalities in feng shui astrology is characterized in their complete form by three numbers: a basic number corresponding to the birth year, an inner one corresponding to the birth month, and an outer one one corresponding to the time of day of birth. The meaning of these is essentially the same as the enneagram basic type, the type under stress and the type as integrated, or as one would wish to appear publicly. And thirdly, examination of these personality levels using five-phase theory shows regularities in structure that strongly support numerical equivalence of the enneagram and feng shui personality types. These are all discussed below.

Correspondences between the enneagram and feng shui forms are made using the eight trigrams of the I Ching in addition to a ninth element, type 5, which is associated in feng shui to the center, which we interpret as the self [Sachs]. The events of a story can then be constructed as hexagrams, combining a personality-type trigram with a situation-type trigram. Trigram correspondences are given for these. Such events are then sequenced as natural processes using a ring structure, adapted from feng shui theory, known as the five-phase cycle, forming stories.

We first establish some basic principles and tools for analysis and construction of stories which are then linked to five-phase cycles. Examples of construction of a story scenario following these principles is given, and two classic tragedies, "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller and "A Streetcar Named Desire", by Tennessee Williams, are analyzed in terms of a simple ring model. The five-phase model appears to be a very useful tool for these purposes.

2. Theoretical Tools


2.1 Enneagram/Feng Shui Correspondences

An examination of the descriptions of the nine personality types of the enneagram and the nine types in feng shui astrology shows that that these are so similar as to be taken as identical, both in type number and characterization. In addition, alternate personality types of the enneagram are indicated by the arrows to and from each enneagram point. These represent the types when under stress (the inner nature) or when integrated or energized (the outer nature). The inner nature (arrow pointing toward the point) is what one falls back on in times of stress, the outer nature (arrow pointing away from the point) is the integrated personality, or how one would wish to appear to others. Remarkably, feng shui astrology personality types also has the same inner and outer types in addition to the basic personality type. The basic feng shui astrology personality type is obtained from the year of birth and the inner from roughly the month of birth and the outer from the time of day of birth. These alternate types can be incorporated in more advanced theories of stories, but for the present we use them to demonstrate a point. Here is the list of correspondences [Sandifer, Thompson], where + means yang and - means yin:

enneagram
or feng shui
type
trigramphaseinner nature outer nature
1 water +water5 4 7
2 earth -earth5 8 4
3 thunder +wood5 9 6
4 wind -wood5 2 1
5 earth +mt +earth5 7 8
6 heaven -metal5 3 9
7 lake +metal5 1 5
8 mountain -earth5 5 2
9 fire +fire5 6 3

For type 5, earth is used if the subject is female, and mountain if male. With the exception of earth5 types, which can occupy three positions, the alternate positions are always onestep away on the five-phase ring (see Fig. 1) for the inner nature and two steps away but in the opposite direction for the outer state. This means that the basic type creates the inner type, but that the basic type is controlled by the outer nature. This regularity is a somewhat remarkable phenomenon, since if the feng shui and enneagram types were not in fact truly identical, one would expect random or at least less systematic correspondences. Yet there is no overt mention of five-phase theory being used in the construction of the enneagram. This regularity also suggests that the trigram correspondences between the enneagram and feng shui types are correct.

[We would take the inner and outer numbers to be the ones characteristic of the enneagram type, from the above list, rather than from time of birth.]

2.2 Magic Squares

A magic square is one in which the numbers assigned to the squares add up to the same number for all of the rows, columns, and diagonals. In feng shui, there are nine magic squares, one for each personality type [Moran]. These give the corresponding life-world areas mapped for a given personality type. There is a basic magic square, which has type 5 (The Center) at its center. In addition, each personality type has its own magic square, which are then overlaid on the basic magic square to determine, through compatibility as described below of the basic and overlaid elements, the compatibility of each square with that personality type. The trigrams and enneagram types correspond to the following type of story or life-world situations, taken from the basic magic square of feng shui. The sequence of situations are also the stages of life.

ENNEAGRAM PERSONALITY TYPEI CHING TRIGRAMLIFE-WORLD SITUATION
1 (Reformer) water LIFE PATH:
planning, career, business
success, beginnings, journey,
death, life path
2 (Helper) earth CLOSE RELATIONS:
germination, partnerships,
marriage, relationships,
motherhood,friendship
3 (Performer)thunderHEALTH &FAMILY:
sprouting, health, family
life, community,
parents, relatives (not children),
elders, new beginnings
4 (Romantic) windFORTUNATE BLESSINGS:
rapid growth, money,
wealth, monetary fortune,
empowerment, intention,
abundance
5 (Sage) earth (if female)
or mountain (if male)
CENTER:
Transition, Self, Unity,
Tai Chi, Wholeness
6 (Loyalist) heaven SOCIAL & TRAVEL:
Interests outside of the home, politics
travel, contacts, neighbors, power,
benefactors, helpful people,
compassion, determination,
persistence.
7 (Adventurer) lake CHILDREN &CREATIVITY:
purity, children, creativity,
unfinished projects
8 (Boss) mountain KNOWLEDGE:
stillness, contemplation,
intelligence, wisdom, knowledge,
education, scholarly pursuits
9 (Mediator)fire FAME:
end of project or journey
recognition, fame, fortune, festivity

Note that Type 9 is associated with trigram fire, which can be interpreted as warmth, passion, feeling. This corresponds to the fact that the MBTI test data show that type 9 is a pure feeling (F) type [Fudjack & Dinkelaker], contrary to usual attribution of type 9 with the body, instinct or "gut". Trigram fire here corresponds to a feng shui personality type and should not be confused with alchemical fire, which Jung attributed to intuition. The above correspondences are not strictly triadic, but the body or gut types tend to group around type 3, the thinking types around 6 and the feeling types around type 9.

2.3 Five-Phase Theory

We use chinese five-phase theory to map the course of a drama because it provides a natural method of designing the actions in a drama.

The creative five-phase cycle, together with destructive actions, is shown in Fig. 1, where the counterclockwise sense of rotation is here taken to be that of the Tai Chi symbol.

Five-phase theory is useful to the design of drama because:

    a) The phases can be mapped to hexagrams

    b) The theory provides a sequence of steps for naturally occuring processes, so that by associating the phases with story events in the form of hexagrams, we can obtain a natural story sequence.

    c) The theory provides for creative actions (creation of the inital problem by the antagonist, and motion toward a goal of the protagonist) as well as

    d) Blocking or destructive actions (resistance by antagonist to protagonist motion, destruction of the antagonist and destruction of the initial problem).

In the above, one phase creates the next:

              metal5 creates  water5
              water5 creates  wood5
              wood5  creates  fire5
              fire5  creates  earth5
              earth5 creates  metal5

Conversely a given phase can overpower (destroy or control) the phase two steps ahead:

              metal5 destroys  wood5
              wood5  destroys  earth5
              earth5 destroys  water5
              water5 destroys  fire5
              fire5  destroys  metal5

One other type of action is not shown but which might be useful for drama, the mitigation action, which consists of blocking a destructive act by inserting a compatible phase in between such a pair.

2.4 Type Compatibility

Type compatibility is the basis of feng shui interior design[Moran]. Here, instead of the physical space of a room interior, we use drama or situation space. Compatibility between personality types or between persons and life-areas can be obtained from five-phase maps such as the above. Each personality type has its own magic square, which when overlaid on the basic magic square, determines, through compatibility as given below of the basic and overlaid elements, the compatibility of each square for that personality type. A type 1 magic square has 1 in the center, and will be strong in squares 1,4, and 7 from the above list. Type 2 is mapped to the magic square with 2 in the center and is strong in squares 2, 8, and 4. And so forth. While we will not go into this aspect, these squares which are compatible on the overlay show the areas of the life-world which are the most promising for each personality type. A set of felicitous hexagrams then results for each personality type.

The following list of compatibles and incompatibles were obtained from Moran, [pp.270-271]:

Compatible types are:

        4, 9 and 2
        4, 8 and 7
        8, 6 and 1

Incompatible types are:

        9 and 1
        8 and 2
        7 and 3
        6 and 4

3. Construction and Analysis of Stories

A story is a meaningful sequence of events that is cyclic, and consequential. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end [Aristotle]. The sequence of meaningful events is here mapped to the ring structure of classical five-phase theory [Twicken]. The consequential, meaningful aspect of stories is contained in the nuclear hexagram [Karcher] of the kernel hexagram of the story, which is the initial hexagram containing the basic problem of the story.

3.1 Elements of Stories

In a drama the given character types usually play different roles. The character types are personality types, while the roles are dramatic functions that such characters play [Dramatica]. Taking Death of a Salesman as an example, a real actor plays Willy Loman, a "character" in the play, who is enneagram type 4, and who at the same time plays the functional role of "protagonist".

Roles types are described in Phillips [Dramatica], who gives eight classic types. For simplicity we will deal here with the two principle roles of Protagonist (who is burdened to solve the problem of the play) and Antagonist (who creates this problem and possibly others as well as resisting their solutions). While focussing here only on these two principle roles, it should be kept in mind that each role in a drama has his own story. As such they follow logically consistent paths which are traceable from beginning to end of the play.

Each meaningful event of a story is a hexagram created by joining a situation trigram with the trigram of the character trigram acting in that situation. This duality gives, in the broadest sense, two basic kinds of story, each with two sub-stypes:

1) "Character-based" stories. These are usually psychological or moral dramas. Here the plot-line of the story is less important than changes in the character of the protagonist, so that the situation remains constant. These can be of two sub-types:

1a) Moral drama. This involves visible change in the protagonist's character, i.e. his behavior. Here the top trigrams of the hexagram sequence are thought of as character trigrams, and so are publicly visible. These change, while the bottom trigrams, which are the basic situation, remain fixed.

1b) Psychological drama. Here there is an inner or psychological change in character of the protagonist. Here the top trigrams again are thought of as character trigrams, but these remain fixed. There is no outward change in appearance of the character. The bottom trigrams are given by the changing situation inside of him, representing changes in his psychological state.

2) "Event-based" stories. These include typical love stories and action dramas. Here the character type of the protagonist does not change, but his situation does, so that there is more emphasis of what we usually refer to as the plot. The situation, given as the top trigram, changes while the character type, given by the bottom trigram, remains fixed. This gives us basically two types of "event-based" story:

2a) The happy ending. Here the situation goes from bad to good, meaning that the basic problem of the drama is solved.

2b) The tragedy. The situation goes from good to bad, but there are a number of possible paths. If the drama moves from bad to good there is either a failure to solve the problem at the end, or, as the examples below show, solving the problem destroys an initial inauthentic mode of being.

3.2 Nuclear Hexagrams

The nuclear form of a hexagram contains possibilities hidden in the story's kernel hexagram, the initial hexagram containing the problem of the story. These are the motivation behind the story, ranging from possible great gains to possible great losses. They define what is at stake in the story. In the example analysis given below of "Death of a Salesman", the nuclear hexagram is h39 (Barriers), indicating Willy's difficulties, meaning opposition or discord in the family if the truth be known. It could as well be indicated by its opposite, h38 (Diverging), meaning opposition or discord in the family if the truth be known. This is touched on throughout the drama through the skepticism of Willy's sons.

The possiblities of the story kernel hexagram hidden in its nuclear transform are what can make a story consequential or not. If consequential, something vital is at stake which will hold the audience's attention, and give them reason to care about what happens to the protagonist. Obviously the extreme forms, great gains or great losses, can make the most exciting dramas.

A discussion of the method of obtaining nuclear hexagrams and their meanings can be found in [Karcher]. [Sector] also discusses these mechanics and the meaning of the nuclear transform as well as provides a table of nuclear hexagrams and their offspring [ "I Ching Clarifed" by Mondo Secter, Tuttle, 1993, p.60.] In lieu of those, one can obtain the nuclear form of a hexagram from its inner four lines as follows. Let the lines of the hexagram be numbered 1-6, starting at the bottom of the hexagram. If the original hexagram is made up of the lines 1,2,3,4,5,6, its nuclear transform is 2,3,4,3,4,5.

3.3. The Elementary Story Ring

Suppose these phases are the elements of a story, and the problem of the story is selected to be water5. Then we can characterize the story as in Fig. 2.

Here the antagonist first creates the story problem. The protagonist then creates unsuccessful solutions, but since these are two steps ahead of the antagonist, he can defeat them and they don't work. Then the protagonist or a helper finds the key to overpowering the antagonist, which is two steps ahead of the key. This allows the protagonist to move to the next phase, the successful solution. Since the original or kernel hexagram is two phases ahead, this permits the protagonist to destroy the original problem, bringing the story to an end.

3.4. Networks and Subplots

five-phase cycles can be joined to create a story network. We consider the simplest case, for which the main story problem has an associated subplot cycle. We demonstrate the increased control the current theory confers on story design by designing a story for which the problem of the main story is solved by action in the subplot.

The elementary story is characterized as in Fig. 2. To this we add a subplot, to obtain the configuration shown in Fig.3, which is attached at the "key" phase of the main plot. The "key" is the event in the story which enables the antagonist (or his associated powers) to be overcome so that the protagonist can then move the next phase, in which the main problem is destroyed, i.e. solved. [Fig. 3]

In using this, one could set up two apparently two unrelated stories, running simultaneously, the main plot and its problem, and the subplot. The successful solution of the subplot problem would provide the key to solving the main plot problem, thus providing a surprise ending. To set this up, one needs to work backwards, first finding the key to successful solution of the main plot, then using this in a cycle of creation to generate the subplot.

4. Applications

4.1 Construction of Stories

To give an example of story construction, we use the general story structure of Fig. 3 made for a particular story in Fig. 4.

We arbitrarily take the protagonist of the main plot to be enneagram type 3, thunder. In Fig. 4 we have already selected water5 as the main problem. Now we let the above phases be contexts, that is, situations or life-world areas. The agent (protagonist or antagonist) is inside of the context, so that the agent is the bottom trigram, the situation is the top trigram. This practice also corresponds appriately to traditional phase-typing of a hexagram by its top trigram, so that the phase is given by the situation, not the agent.

We will use positive phase elements for the protagonist and the negative ones for the antagonist. We will make the antagonist the opposite personality type as the protagonist, i.e. he will be wind, enneagram type 4. We will take the Protagonist of the subplot to be the inverse of the main plot protagonist, mountain, enneagram type 8, and the antagonist of the subplot to be arbirarily fire.

Having made these choices, the remaining elements follow automatically. This gives the particular story shown in Fig. 5. Then we have the plot and subplot, which proceeds as follows:

MAIN PLOT (The male)
SUBPLOT (The female)
m1. Problem h3 (Difficult beginnings)
f1. Problem h21 (Biting Through)
m2. Failed solutions h51(The Arousing)
f2. Failed solutions h52(Stillness/Restraint)
f3. Key to solution h33 (Retreating)
m3. Key to solution h33 (Retreating)
f4. Successful solution h39(Barriers/Difficulty)
m4. Successful solution h27 (Nourishment)

Having generated metaphors for the principle actions of the play, some playwriting capability is required to flesh out the plot. To us, this appears to be a romantic comedy. The first thing needed is that something must be at stake. To find the hidden possibilities in the plot, we take the nuclear transform of the main hexagram, h3, which gives h23 (Splitting Apart). Lovers or possible lovers could be split apart-- if they fail. To keep things focused, we take the man and woman to be associated respectively with with the plot and subplot, with the man being the protagonist in the plot and antagonist in the subplot, and by symmetry the woman is the protagonist in the subplot and antagonist in the plot. Here is a possible scenario which fits Fig. 5:

Romantic Comedy

Scenario

Act I
John likes Jennifer, and she is attracted to John, but John is superficial (enneagram type 3) and a klutz at expressing his true feelings. Jennifer, being a type 8 ( trigram mountain) is also a bit cold and imperial. Moreover, John gets bad advice from a friend to pretend to ignore her (h3, Difficult Beginnings). At the same time, Jennifer is being courted by Richard, a very attractive suitor (Nuclear hexagram h23: Splitting Apart). But Jennifer somehow prefers John and so Jennifer, a type 8, decides to become John's love mentor. She talks down to him as a mountain type would and encourages him to express his feelings (h21, Biting Through). John overinterprets this and literally throws himself on Jennifer (h51, The Arousing) but this of course fails and he gets the silent treatment from her (h52, Stillness).

Act II
Richard and Jennifer are now dating (h52, Retreating). This is too much for John. At every opportunity, he shows up to combat their relationship (h39, Barriers). Of course, he is also a klutz at that, and these all fail. But this nevertheless melts Jennifer's reserve (h33, Retreating) and she goes back to John, who has now learned how to say nice things to Jennifer (h27, Nourishment), sort of.....

 

4.2. Analysis of Stories.

To demonstrate some of the capabilities of this theory, we use it to analyze two classic american plays, "Death of a Salesman", by Arthur Miller, and "A Streetcar named Desire", by Tennessee Williams. These are both tragedies, and are well suited to a Heideggerian method of literary analysis ("Daseinanalysis").

"Death of a Salesman" is a classic tragedy with direct parallels to Sophocle's "Oedipus Rex". Like Oedipus, its theme is that of denial. The ultimate denial, denial of death, was examined by Heidegger [LeMay]; he equated such a denial with the state of fallenness or inauthenticity. In the fallen state, one becomes "Das Mann", mass man, who lives in a state of forgetfulness of the true state of affairs. In "Death of a Salesman" this will be shown to be hexagram 61(Inner Truth). Willy's denial is that of constant failure to provide what he would like to for his family, but on another level it is a denial of death. Death, that is, suicide, is in fact the choice that Willy makes in the end when, exposed as an adulterer by his sons, he can no longer live by the pretenses of the past.

In action dramas, the focus is on the outer situation a personality is in. In "Death of a Salesman", the focus is more on Willy's inner states, i.e. it is a character-based, psychological drama. Therefore each hexagram event is constructed such that the upper trigram is that of willy while the lower trigram is the situation trigram inside of him.

The problem or initial situation for Willy is given by the kernel hexagram h57 (Penetrating), or wind over wind, which means that one allows oneself to be shaped by the situation instead of being one's true self. This is the opposite of the story solution, hexagram h61 (Inner Truth). Denial is also the theme of most of Eugene O'Neill's plays. It is perhaps the greatest of all tragic themes. By its nature, this theme is hidden to Willy Loman. The exposure of the truth given by Hexagram h61 is what looms over the play. Just as Oedipus Rex gouged out his eyes when the truth of his crimes (failures) became unavoidabe, Willy Loman commits suicide when so overwhelmed.

In the diagram below, (h61, The Truth Within) corresponds to the successful solution. Hexagram 61 is wind/lake. Willy Loman is a Romantic, which corresponds to trigram wind. Since wind is the top trigram, it is the outer text. The truth, trigram lake, is the inner trigram and lies within him. Since wind is the personality trigram, it will be implied for each protagonist phase. Removing this gives lake as the phase type, which is yin type metal5. Pin-pointing this successful solution as a metal5 phase then by implication gives the phases of the rest of the creative cycle. It is assumed in each (protagonist) phase that lake (Willy Loman) is the bottom trigram. Since lake is yin metal5, we use the yin form of the phases, i.e. the bottom trigram is wind for wood5 instead of thunder, and earth for earth5 instead of mountain.

The set of hexagrams for the story are then as given below. Although it was not necessary to specify the antagonist hexagram, this is the seductive brother Ben, who in dream-like visions leads Willy to gather as much wealth as he can; we have taken Ben's personality type to be Performer, type 3 or thunder.

We then have at the end, (h61, Inner Truth) as the solution to the initial problem, h57 (Penetrating). The nuclear hexagram, or hidden possibility of this hexagram is h39 (Blocking), meaning opposition or discord if the (Inner Truth) be known. This is touched on throughout the drama through the skepticism of Willy's sons. The resultant play structure is shown in Fig. 5.

Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller

The basic problem of the story is one of slow going (h57, Penetration), with Willy Loman, a salesman, in Heidegger's state of fallenness, struggling to make ends meet . The nuclear hexagram of h57, which is h39 (Blocking), implies that there is a hidden rage or dissent in the family. Until near the end, the story is consists of repeated denials of failure and the generation of false hope to (h3, Members of the Family). Near the end, when things have gotten very bad and finally one of his sons reveals to Willy one of Willy's marital infidelities, Willy can no longer live under his former pretense that he is a successful salesman (h20, Contemplation) and recognizing that (h61, Inner Truth) he takes his life.

A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams

The protagonist, Blanche, is a Romantic, in a Heideggerian state of fallenness as Willy Loman was above and h61, (Inner Truth) is the solution to the plot. So "A Streetcar Named Desire" has the exactly same plot structure as "Death of a Salesman".

Blanche Dubois is much like Willy Loman or Oedipus the King. She is a romantic who survives by pretense that all is well ( kernel hexagram, h57, wind/wind). Both Blanche and her sister Stella come from a wealthy Souther n background that has degenerated. Blanche comes to visit Stella and her husband Stanley, a muscular hulk who Blanche is physically attracted to but at the same is repulsed by his crude language and manners. The bulk of the play deals with these issues (h3, Members of the Family). Finally her life unravels as it is revealed that Blanche has had a somewhat colorful sex life after her husband died, going from man to man for support (h20, Contemplation). Stanley finds out about this and confronts her with it (h61, Inner Truth), then rapes her. This is a parallel to Willy Loman's Suicide. Stella reacts to Blanche's cries by thinking she has gone mad, and puts her away in a mental hospital.

 
5. Discussion

Northrup Fyre gave the classic definition of story genres in his erudite "Anatomy of Criticism" [Frye]. Here we have focused on the structures of stories rather than examine this higher-level issue. However, we can give a brief account of the connection between Frye's theory and the present one. Frye defined the basic story genres -- Satire, Comedy, Romance, Tragedy-- using the metaphor of the seasons (winter, spring, summer and autumn, respectively). These can also be associated respectively to the western alchemical elements water4, air4, fire4, and earth4. These are the prevailing moods of the story or drama, which in our theory are given by the nuclear forms of the story kernel hexagrams. There are 16 first order nuclear hexagrams, and if the nuclear transforms of these are taken, four hexagrams remain, which cannot be broken down further. These are hexagrams 1, 2, 63 and 64. These "primordial nuclears" in fact can be associated to the four alchemical elements (air4, earth4, water4 and fire4 respectively), so that they are the equivalents to Frye's four basic genres. They each control four first-order nuclear hexagrams, which in turn control all of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching.

Equivalences to Northrup Frye's Theory

Genre Season Alchemical
Element
Primordial
Nuclear
Theme*
Mythos** Subdomain
Themes*
Satire Winter water h63 (Already Acting) Anarchy h38(Blocking)
h40(Unraveling)
h54(Out of Control)
h64(Not Ready)
Comedy Spring air h1 (Creation) Newborn
Society
h1 (Creating)
h28(Crisis)
h43(Breakthrough)
h44(Sexualcoupling)
Romance Summer fire h64 (Not yet done) Conflict h37(Clannishness)
h39(Difficulties)
h53(Infiltrating)
h63(Already Acting)
Tragedy Autumn earth h2 (Falling Back) Catastrophe h2(Falling Back)
h23(Stripping Away)
h24(Rebirth)
h27(Open Mouth)
*The meanings are from Karcher[].
We have selected aspects of the general meaning which emphasize the theme.

** From Frye[]

In the above we compare Frye's theory of Genres with the structure of the I Ching. Although the fit is far from perfect, the metaphors given in the last column in most cases appear to be appropriate to the theme. Therefore Frye's theory appears to be reasonably born out by the nuclear structure of the I Ching. One could therefore write comedies, etc. based on these classic themes, using either the nuclears in the last column or their off-spring, since each of the 16 nuclear hexagrams controls four other hexagrams. Except for 1,2,63 and 64, these are not shown in the above list.

Conclusions

We have outlined a cyclic theory of the stories and provided tools to both analyze and construct them. This is done by combining personality theory (the eneagram) and metaphors of the life-world from feng shui. We find that ancient chinese five-phase theory, which is rooted in nature, can be used to analyze story structures, thus providing a naturalistic basis of stories.

By combining these ring structures, each containing a story cell, one can generate subplots and ever more complex stories in the form of story networks.

The theory provides a useful method of constructing and analyzing story structures.


References

Aristotle, The Poetics.

Simon Brown, Nine Ki Feng Shui Astrology, Barnes &Noble (1999).

Northrup Fyre, Anatomy of Criticism. Four Essays Princeton (1957), pp.158-239.

Stephen Karcher, How to Use the I Ching, Element Books (1997), p.23.

Eric LeMay and Jennifer A. Pitts, Heidegger for Beginners, Writers and Readers Publishing (1994), pp.47-59.

Elizabeth Moran and Val Biktashev, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui, Alpha Books (1999).

Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley, Dramatica. A New Theory of Story, Screenplay Systems (1996), p.27.

Robert Sachs, Nine Star Ki, Element Books (1999).

Jon Sandifer, Feng Shui Astrology, Ballantine (1997).

Mondo Secter, The I Ching Clarified, Tuttle (1993), p.60.

Roger C. Schank and Robert P. Abelson, (1995) Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story, in Wyer, Robert S, Eds. Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story, chapter 1, pages 1-85. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (http://cogprints.soton.ac.uk/documents/disk0/00/00 /06/36/)

Gerry Thompson, Feng Shui Astrology for Lovers, Godsfield (1998).

David Twicken, Classical Five Element Chinese Astrology Made Easy, Writers Club Press (2000).

Roy Wagner, Symbols That Speak for Themselves, Univ. of Chicago Press (1986).

Boris Wiseman and Judy Groves, Introducing Levi-Strauss, Totem (1997).

About the Author

Roger Clough, PhD, retired in 2000 from a career in metallurgical research, with nearly 80 publications in that field, in which he studied the relationships between material structure and mechanical properties. Since then he has been applying these analytical and modeling skills to the humanities, studying the relationships between the structures of the life-world, personality, and resultant human behavior. Since 1989 he has moonlighted as a playwright and composer, studying musical drama for a decade with the Musical Theater Wing of the Playwrights Forum of Washington, DC. His musical, "Cafe Hades", was given a staged reading in 1994. In 1996 he was awarded grants by the City of Rockville for a short musical theater tribute to and an improvisational theater piece about F Scott Fitzgerald. In 1999 his background score to Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" was used in performances of the play by the Alexandria Players. He plans to use the theory developed here for the design of a new musical.

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