jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2009

miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2009

Propp taxonomy


According to Vladimir Propp in fairy tales there must be a princess and her father (Snow White and her father), a villain (Snow White´s step-mother), a hero (the Prince), a helper (they are the seven dwarves). He had also found certain recurrent points that created a constant structure in fairy tales. All these points, which are called functions, are not always in all the tales.For instance, in Snow White ABSENTATION is depicted by the absence of her mother and careless masculine role that her father had in the story, INFORMATION function is represented by the moment when the step-mother is said that Snow White is the most beautiful woman in the kingdom so she represented a future rival for her, COMPLICITY is mainly depicted in two moments in the tale, the victim is deceived by a woodcutter and then by her step-mother dressed up as a sweet and old woman. Another function is VILLAINY which is carried out at the very beginning in the story when the evil step-mother decided to kill Snow White because of her beauty. The LIQUIDATION is the moment which the villainy is repaired, for example when the loyal woodcutter became disobedient and let Snow White to go away in order to preserve her life. Another one function is the RETURN, at just the end of the tale the hero went back to the Kingdom, and got the RECOGNITION of the dwarves when the prince kissed Snow White and suddenly, she woke up surprisingly. PUNISHMENT takes place at the end of the fairy tale when the merciless step-mother fell down to precipice while she tried to escape from the dwarves´pursuit. Finally, the WEDDING is the most typical characteristic and the last one point to be consider, here our hero marries the princess and they lived happily for ever after.

One story and different versions


I have chosen Cinderella written by The Grimm Brothers and Cinderella by Charles Perrault.
In both, I have found the number "three" that depicts Cinderella and her step-sisters.Besides, the Festival or party lasts "three" days.
The version by The Grimm Brothers has two step-sisters quite vile and black of hearts like their mother, as long as in The Charles Perrault´s version one of them seems to be not so rude and uncivil with Cinderella. An important difference between these versions is that who helps Cinderella to go to the Festival or the party is her God-mother in one version and "a white bird" that appears near her mother´s grave in the other. Having wept on the grave, Cinderella sees her wishes come true, while in the other version, she has to follow her God-mother´s instructions.
In Cinderella written by The Grimm Brothers, Cinderella´s father takes his fatherly role in the story, while that in the other version, he is mentioned but his figure does not care in the tale. The languague is different,too. The Grimm´s version is the oldest because of these words such as thee, thou, thrice, art, hast,wouldst.
One of the characteristics in fairy tales is "justice". Grimm´s version is cruel enough because the two step-sisters are hurt in their eyes by birds. In the other, the two step-sisters are forgiven by Cinderella because of their regret. At the end of the tale, pigeons help the prince to realize who the true princess is. In Perrault´s version, God-mother helps Cinderella to show who she is indeed.

stories and more stories

GRIMM BROTHERSChildren and Household Tales (stories/legends)Little Snow White
Hansel and Gretel
Tom Thumb
Blue Beard
Deutsche Sagen (legends)

The Dying Child (poem)
The Mermaid
The Ugly Duckling
The brave tin Soldier
The Seller of Matches

sábado, 12 de septiembre de 2009



I have choosen "Little Red Riding Hood" to be analyzed from the point of the view of Bruno Bettelheim. First, this fairy tale was mainly addressed children and young girls to teach not to trust and listen to all sorts of people in the outside world included the gentle ones. For adults, it may be so simple, but for children is one of many important rules to acquire and become themself more mature so that they will be able to deal with any problem in their future lives in society. Thus, this fairy tale acts as children´s coaches to kown what to do or not to do.
Second, this fairy tale like the others has a happy ending in which good is rewarded like when Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are saved by the Woodcutter and evil is punished like in the tale when the wolf is killed by the Woodcutter, as well. The happy ending creates confidence and hope to overcome any difficult situation so that it compensates for the sad, anxious and paintful feelings.
Third, classic opening words´fairy tales are "Once upon a time...", give children the idea of leaving this real world to sink into a magic world where things are less materialistic and happy, vivid and innocent.
fourth, the number "three" is one of the characteristics of fairy tales like this.The main good characters are three: Little Red Riding Hood, her Grandmother and the wolf.
fifth, "Little Red Riding Hood" has one heroe, the Woodcutter, and one evil the cunning Wolf. The idea of justice is present here because children need a model to follow and a model to be different in order to avoid being punished.
sixth, Female figures are all major characters and encourage women to take control of their lives to keep away themself from lying people and to be helpful to others.
To conclude, Bruno Bettelheim was a helpful person who expierenced the consequences of the war and gives the mayority of his years to recuperate children from autism. He believed that fairy tales were a good way to help these children to convey their emotions and at the same time, to discover a fantastic world where they can dream to be the prince or princess who will live happily for ever after.

jueves, 3 de septiembre de 2009

Propp, Tatar, Kieran, Bettelheim

Vladimir Propp

He was born on April 17, 1895 in St. Petersburg where he lived all his life. Vladimir was a Russian philologist and structuralist who analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folktales in order to identify their simplest narrative elements. He was advocated to work with fairy tales for which he achieved world recognition as the first application of structuralism to the humanities and created the bases for new disciplines, such as narratology, semiology and structural anthropology.
Among others, Vladimir Propp was recognized as an inventor of structuralism, which has become a main method of the humanities in twentieth century. He extended the Russian Formalist(1910s-1930s) approach to the study of narrative structure. In the formalist approach sentence structures were broken down into analizable elements(Russian Formalists advocated a "scientific" method for studying poetic language, to the exclusion of traditional psychological and cultural-historical approaches.)
From 1914-1918 Vladimir Propp studied Russian and German philology at Petrograd State University, where he remainded until 1969: as lecturer in the Department of Philology from 1932, as professor from 1938, and then head of departmanent from 1964.
According to Vladimir Proppś research, after the initial situation is depicted, tales take the following sequence of 31 functions: absentation, interdiction, violation of interdiction, reconnaissance, delivery, trickery, complicity, villainy and lack, meditation, beginning counter-action, departure, first function of the donor, hero´s reaction, receipt of a magical agent, guidance, struggle, branding, victory, liquidation return,pursuit, rescue, unrecognized arrival, unfounded claims, difficult task, solution, recognition, exposure, transsfiguration, punishment, wedding.
Propp also concluded that the characters could be resolved into only seven broad character types:
1- the villain - struggles against the hero
2- the donor - prepares the hero or gives him some magical object.
3- The (magical) helper - helps the hero in the quest.
4- The princess an her father - give the task to the hero.
5- The pispatcher - character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.
6- The hero or victim/seeker hero - reacts to the donor, weds the princess.
7- (false hero) takes credit for the heroś actions or tries to marry the princess.
Also, these roles could sometimes be distributed among various characters.
Conversely, one character could engage in acts as more than one role.

Vladimir Propp is wellknown as the author of four fundamental books about folklore studies and narratology. He wrote morphology of the Folktale (1928), The Historical Roots of Fairy Tales (1946), Russian Heroic Epics (1958) and Russian Agrarian Feast-days (1963) in which he developed the elaboration and aplication of s


Tatar maría m. is wel-respected in the academnic field for her fairy-tale studies and texts as well one of the most published languages and cultures. She chairs the program in folklore and mythology at Havard University, where she teachs courses in German Studies, Folklore and Chilren´s Literature.
Tatar María M. is the author of the Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, Secrets beyond the door: The story of Bluebeard and his Wives; The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Classic Fairy-Tales; The Classic Fairy-Tales; The Hard Facts of The Grimms'Fairy-tales, Off with their Heads!; Fairy-Tales and the culture of childhood; Enchanted Hunter: The Power of stories in Childhood.


He was born in Ireland in 1942. He was brought up and educated in England. After studying History and completed a teaching certificate at Goldmiths College,University of London, He taugh high school for two years. Then, he worked for a year as a Research Fellow at The Institute for Comparative Studies in Kngston-upon-Thames and after that, he moved to The U.S.A. to begin a Ph. D. in Philosophy of education at Stanford University. He worked concurrently as a consultant to the I.B.M. Corp. He completed his study at Cornell University in 1972.
He is the author of about 20 books and coauthor, editor, or coeditor of a few more. He is author of more then one hundred articules. In 1991 he received the Grawemeyer Award in Education.In 1993 He was elected as the first person ineducation the Royal Society of Canada. In 2000 he was elected as a foreign Associate member of the National Academy of Education.In 2001 he Was appointed to a Canada Research Chair in Education, and won a wKillan Research Fellowship. Many books of his own creation have been translated into more than half a dozen European and Asian languages. Recentelly, his books include Teaching as sttory telling, Imagination in teaching and learning, the Educated Mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding (1997), Children´s Minds, Talking Rabbits and Clockwork Oranges (1999) and Building my Zen Garden (2000). A new book, Getting it Wrong from the Beginning: our progressivit inherance from Herbert Spencer, John Dewey and Jean Piaget was published in 2002.
In The Educated Minds, Kieran Egan offers an exciting reframing of the debates corcerning problems of educated and proposes an antidote: increase our understanding of understanding.

Bruno Bettelheim

He was born on August 28, 1903 in Viena, Austria and died on March 13, 1990 in the United States. He was wellkown for his view on austism and emotionally disurbed children. He talked against what he called "refrigarator mother", theory of autism , and his influence was remarkable during the 1960s and 1970s in U.S.A. Bruno Bettelheim was the author of The Uses of Enchantmanent,in which he analyzed fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology. He firmly believed in the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children to convey their feelings.Thus, fairy tales are a way of transmitting unconscious role models to children.
According to Bruno Bettelheim, fairy tales have some shared characteristics such as Style, Characters, and Themes.
Taking into account Styles, for instance, faity tales have happy endings, in which good in reward and evil punishment.They tries to compensate for the sad, anxious and paintful feeling of readers as well as create confidence and hope for children. Also, they have a classical opening words "Once Upon a Time" that gives welcome to the readers to an imaginary world. Other characteristic is the repetition of number "three", for example three little pigs, three children in Cinderella including herself, three is the number of the main characters in Little Red Riding Hood. Number "three" depicts perfection and completeness (as the basic unit of a family -father, mother and child)
Taking into account Characters,The Heroes or Heroines have remarkable importance in fairy tales as they symbolize the triumph over difficulties and obstacles in life. Having received this special message, children will be able to strive and overcome any negative aspects in their real lives, like their unconcious models in fairy tales. The Evils, in fairy tales, receive their punishment at the end of the tale in order to satisfy children´s needs for justice. Besides, in fairy tales female figures have all major characters. Fairy tales enhance feminism in society .
Taking into account Themes, fairy tales exert their infuence on society. For instance, in Cinderella "sibling rivalry" depicts a common fact of life that children have to learn to overcome o see them as natural as possible. In the case of Little Red Riding Hood, the theme is that children ought no trust and listen to all sort of people in the outside world, including the gentle ones. This fairy tale has a simple meaning but it a very important one. Thus, fairy tales act as children´s coaches so that they can deal with any problem when they enter society.

The three important authors




He was born in Paris, France in 1628 and died in 1703. This writer was a leading intellectual of his time. His narratives belonged to a story-telling tradition that has been
shared by countless generations. Not having invented these tales, he gave them literary legitimacy. A slender book of his own creation was published in 1967 containing 8 simple stories called "Stories or Tales from Time Past" which had a clear moral objective.
Charles Perrault wrote these unforgettable titles for children:
The sleeping beauty in the wood.
Little red riding hood.
Blue beard
The master cat or Puss in boots
The fairies
Cinderella or The little glass slipper
Ricky of the tuft
Little thumb
He also wrote three verse narratives: Griselda, The ridiculous wishes, Donkey skin.


Jacob and Wilhelm were born in 1785 and 1786 respectively in Hanau, Germany. They were two of the nine children. In 1791 the family moved to Steinau. Unfortunately, their father died in 1796 and three children had died as well. In 1798 the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm moved to their aunt´s house in Kassel. There they started to study at University of Marburg.
By 1806 they begun to collect folktales. Two years later, their mother and a sister died , thus Jacob started to work as a librarian. In 1812 The Grimm brothers published volume one of "Children and household tales", which contained 86 folktales, later the final version of this book would consist of 200 numbered stories plus 10 children legends. In 1814 the book became the best known and most influential one ever created in the German language.

In 1816 the brothers published a new collection called Deutsche Sagen with 585 German legends. In 1819 They received honorary doctorates from the University of Marburg. In 1829 the Grimms worked as librarians and professors at university. Between 1837 and 1841 they participated in a formal protest and then they decided to work in the university of Berlin. 1842-1852 the brothers gave up their jobs in order to dedicate themselves to their own studies and research. In 1859 Wilhelm Grimm died and four years later his brother having left a great and valued variety of tales for children such as:
Little thumb
Snow white
Hansel and Gretel
Blue beard
Cinderella and Little red riding hood .


He was born on April, 2nd in 1805 in Odense, Denmark and died August , 4th in 1875. Hans´ personal experience was a product of two towns, two social environments, two worlds and two ages. He wrotes many tales,novelas and plays.
In 1816 his father died ill as a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars and his mother remarried in 1818. In 1819 having tried luck at the Royal theatre in Copemhagen as a singer or dancer, he got that influential people worried about his education. In 1822 a theatre manager became his guardian.
In 1826 Hans C. Andersen wrote his famous poem "the dying child". In next year he managed to publish a number of poems in a journal at secondary school. The dying child
book appeared in both Danish and German versions.
In 1828 Andersen passed his leaving examination and he graduated . In 1829 he debuted with his first prose work and first play successfully. Then, in 1831 he wrote a collection of poems and published his first travel account. The following year he got a role in an opera and wrote his first autobiography unknown until 1926.

What´s children´s literature?

Children´s literature includes different literary genres such as riddles, poems, fairy tales and traditional ones which were transmitted from one generation to the other in oral way. At the very beginning, they were destined for an adult public, then they would become the most read books all over the world either by adults or by children. Literature for children as genre has become independent one by 17 th century and it has been developing spectacularly up to now.
Children´s literature can be any book written for children such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and nonfiction works; any book written by children like Daisy Ashford with her book called “the young visiters” or “The Juvenilla” of Jane Austen; any book chosen for children can be also “suitable” for them and it can be really determined by various authorities such as teachers, reviewerss, scholars, parents, publishers, librarians, etc., to protect children from the unhappier aspects of life, these characteristics are often found in traditional fairy tales and nursery rhymes. In most cases the whole point of the story is the characters´ transmition into adulthood. Besides, children´s literature takes into account books that children have chosen such as comics, literary classics and great works by modern writers.
According to Nancy Anderson , a profesor at the University of South florida, there are six major categories of children´s literature:
1. picture books
2. traditional books
3. fiction
4. nonfiction
5. biografy
The earliest popular stories amongst children were written in the 15 th century, for example “Robin Hood”. Not until 17 th and 18 th centuries that old fables just forggoten could be read for children in Spain, France and Germany. For instance, Comenio revolutionized children´s literature . He published his book in four languages, in which each word had its corresponding picture. Names such as Charles Perrault, Madame D´Aulnoy( wild boar prince), Madame Leprince de Beaumont are remarkable personalities who benefited to children with their genious works(the beauty and the beast).
At the beginning of 19 th century, romanticism that emphasized the importance of personal feelings and of nature, favoured the heyday of fantasy. Numerous writers recovered ancient legends and thus many classical children´s literature would arise. Writes such as Grimm brothers, Han Christian Andersen, Fernan Caballero(folktales ,legends and popular tales), Lewis Carrol(Alice in the wonderland), Johanna Spyri(Heidi), Oscar Wilde(fairy tales, The happy prince, The selfish giant), etc. caught up with their predecessors.
At the middle of the same century, adventured stories and journeys were usually topics in writers´ works. We can mention authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson(The island of the treasure), Rubyard Kipling(The book of the jungle), Jules Verne, E.T.A. Hoffman(The nutcrakers), Carlo Collodi(Pinochio), amongst others.
By the 20 th century, children´s literature acquired autonomy. In its development writers took into account children´s psychology, their interests and experiences. Unforgatable books were published by James M. Barrie(Peter Pan in 1904), A.A. Milné(Winnie the Pooh in 1927), Kenneth Grahame, Hugh Lofting(Dr. Dolittle), Laura Ingalls Wilder(Little house on the prairie in 1933), Tove Jansson, Pamela Travers(Mary Poppins in 1935), Antoine de Saint -Exupéry, José M. Sanchez Silva, C.S. Lewis(Chronicles of Narnia), Dr. Seuss(The cat in the hat and how the Grinch stole Christmas), J.k.Rowling(Harry Potter series), Eoin Colfer(Artemis Fowl) , etc.