Multiplicity is what ties everything together for Calvino.

When he uses the four other memos to write a story, he doesn’t want it to be just that; a story. He wants it to be more. And that is where multiplicity comes in. He views the “contemporary novel as an encyclopedia, as a method of knowledge, and above all as network of connections between the events, the people, and the things of the world.

Multiplicity is what takes an entertaining story and makes it something that changes people’s lives.

Stories with multiplicity do not include flat characters in unbelievable situations. But, instead a world is created where characters do things for a reason and have desires and expectations. “[T]he writer cannot restrain himself from following, multiplying the details so that his descriptions and digressions become infinite”.

Calvino’s emblem for multiplicity is “a tangled skein of yarn”. No piece of the yarn remains unaffected or changed when a part of the yarn is pulled. Everything is connected.

An example of multiplicity in todays world is Wikipedia. Wikipedia allows everyone to contribute information to its site.

It is an encyclopedia of information. But it is also more than that. The information comes from many different sources. Every piece of information that is submitted to the site affects the other information that is already on the site. Two pieces of conflicting information will clash with each other. On the site you might get information from people who know first hand facts, opinions of others, and even misleading information. All of these entries come together to tell a story.

 

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