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Time measured by inventions/statistics

Goldman/Morganstern's use of inventions (before or after America or stew) and statistics (such as ranking of female beauty, or of best kiss) to measure time functions to parody the methods by which we record history. None of these inventions or rankings has single-handedly changed the world, and Goldman seems to imply that very few isolated timepieces actually have changed the world. Most things in this book exist for the higher end of amusement, and these time measurements are no exception. To understand the story, it is not necessary for us to have dates or current rulers. Goldman suggests that it is of much higher importance that we amuse ourselves by watching the progression of Buttercup up the beauty list, or that we consider that stew was probably the world's oldest invention. This motif functions to satire the genre of fantasy, as well as the institution of literature and authorship.

The frequent overturning of picturesque storybook situations

Over and over again, Goldman will set up a scene that appears to be a glorious one, only to promptly overturn it in the next paragraph. For example, the description in quotes of why Inigo loved his father. We are fully prepared for a picturesque, traditional image of love, war, adventure, but each time Goldman adds a twist to throw us off balance. He reminds us that this is not a typical story and that we ought to recognize that since we know so well the elements of this paradigm. Goldman's tone and narrative structure challenges us constantly to reassess our expectations of literature, to prepare our imaginations for surprises and silliness and tangents.