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Re: Propp and Thompson
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- Subject: Re: Propp and Thompson
- From: JOHN KIRK
- Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:56:32 +1000
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- Reply-To: idrama (at sign removed to prevent spamming) flutterby (dot) com
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Yes. It called, if I remember right "The Morphology of the Folk Tale"
and published in the 30s.
I reduces all folk tales down into a small number of common elements and
themes which appear in different guises i.e.. with different characters in
(of course) different tales performing the same narrative function.
An early (maybe first) expression of "there are only (x) stories".
It is important for our work and is a key underpinning of my theoretical
work on narrative.
The structuralist approach to literature places an emphasis on the values
embodied in character so
several characters can embody common values eg."greed"" ( and so work
together to this end) and also opposing values e.g. "reliability" VS
"untrustworthiness" OR "adaptability VS obstinance"
So stories can be expressed as a list (can be hierarchical) of oppositions
of values e.g. "good" VS "evil".
This allows for complexity and apparent contradictoriness and inner conflict
in a character.
This is somewhat embodied in "Dungeons and Dragons" and what makes it work
at a fairly simplistic level. My work has been on adapting this by adding
the visual elements of film language like "Point of View" (i.e. WHO sees)
and the "Cut Away shot" (WHAT is seen).
Which is what attracted me to Eras. You seemed to have built these functions
in to a large extent.
And what pissed me off about the reduction of character variables.
My guess is its better not to simplify character too much but add Prop's
schema to the shaping of the plot lines.
Chris Crawford wrote:
> Has anyone here read Vladimir Propp? How about Sith Thompson? If so, can
> you comment on their possible utility to this group?