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STRUCTURALISM: The idea in sociology, anthropology, literary theory, or linguistics that the best way to understand a cultural artifact (like family units, religious rites, or human language) is not to define each component individually, as its own unique element, but rather to define each component by its relationship to other parts of the same structure. To give a rough example, consider a concept like "father" in American society. If we were attempting to define this concept and how the role functions in American society or in a traditional family from the 1950s, a nonstructuralist might define a father as "a male adult figure who provides income for the family and who serves as an authority figure or protector." Such a definition seeks to define the role based on what it does or what it is, per se. In contrast, a structuralist might instead seek to define a "father" by showing the relationship that figure would have in the larger structure of the family, i.e., a "father corresponds to a mother, but is of opposite gender, and the two together may have children, forming a larger structure called a family, and within that family the father traditionally protects the children and labors outside the household while the mother nutures them within the home." For the structuralist, it makes no sense to define a father without considering the other parts of the family structure and explaining the father's role in relationship to those other parts. The role of father cannot exist if the roles of mother and children do not exist. They are interdependent in ontology.
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SUBCREATION: In J.R.R. Tolkien's contribution to Essays Presented to Charles Williams, Tolkien introduces the idea of subcreation as an artistic and theological concept. Like Milton in Paradise Lost, Tolkien sees God as allowing his lesser creations to contribute to the larger shaping of the universe. That is, humans can act as "subcreators" working under God to extend or enlarge the cosmic creation of God. On the most basic level, while God builds the universe, he leaves humans free to build their own lives within that universe, their own small contribution to the collective artwork. We can strive to create something closer to heaven on earth, or we can choose to create something closer to hell. This human choice is the most basic level of subcreation--an inescapable level separate from any artistic talent in Milton's thinking.