Fairytale Analysis

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Workshop Write-Up: “Prince Ivan and Princess Martha” Activity

In Monday’s workshop, we learned how to apply Propp’s method of classifying fairytales scheme to “Prince Ivan and Princess Martha.” Propps’ method of classifying fairytales scheme involves thirty-one “functions,” which can be split into more specific subcategories denoted by a subscript or superscript. For example, the function “B” can denote misfortune of lack thereof is made known; the hero is approached with a request of command; he is allowed to go or he is dispatched (Propp 36). This is generally known as a call for action to the hero (possibly indirectly) by someone. In the fairytale, “Prince Ivan and Princess Martha,” the specific function was B1 which means “a call for help is given, with the resultant dispatch of the hero,” (Propp 37). Specifically, the king calls out for someone to save his daughter from the Water King, and although the call is not specifically directed towards Prince Ivan; nonetheless, a call is still made. The work we did in the workshop on Monday is important because “Prince Ivan and Princess Martha” does not follow a simple one-move morphology, but instead has two moves that join together later. Becoming familiar with the idea that there can be multiple moves and how to proceed when there is multiple moves present will become crucial in the coming days when we move onto morphologies of more complicated fairytales and eventually do our own morphology (which may or may not be complicated).

My experience with the workshop was nothing less than great. Prior to Monday’s workshop, I was left feeling confused, particularly in the subject of classifying fairytales. Specifically, I felt the process of identifying what function was applicable to a situation to be quite complicated. I was particularly worried when I opened up the Propp book to the back section and saw how complicated some of the morphologies were. In fact, I felt as if I was looking at a complicated...
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