Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Story Telling...through Art.

After talking to one of my classmates about my project she told me about Vladimir Propp and his ideas about stories and how we subconsciously turn them into fairytale scenarios.
So I decided to do a little bit of research into Propp in the library and I found a book called:

'Critical and Cultural Theory' by Dani Cavallaro
Published 2001 by The Athlone Press [p.19-20]

In this book, I found a piece of text on Vladimir Propp's 'Morphology of the Folk Tale' (1928). 
Here is the text:

"Propp maintains that the traditional tale, as a prototype of all narrative forms, is based on a fixed number of components. There are 7 spheres of action, associated with the characters and roles of the 'Villain', the 'Donor', the 'Helper', the 'Princess and her Father', the 'Dispatcher', the 'Hero', and the 'False Hero', and thirty-one functions, associated with key moments in the action e.g, 'Preparation', 'Complication', 'Struggle', 'Return and Recognition'. No tale contains all 31 functions. However, the ones it does contain occur in the same order in all tales. What is most intriguing about the folk tale is its duplicity: its basic form is repetitive, yet it is capable of producing a limitless number of the imaginative and colourful variations. For Propp, what makes a tale ultimately appealing is not its unchanging skeleton but the changing features of its characters and settings."

My thoughts on this piece of text:

I think that this theory is relevant to my research for this project. I hadn't thought about our life scenarios in this way before but in every circumstance we relay to others, there seems to be a fairy tale like theme to them. The characters and the themes are always there. Not always at the same time and not all of them in the same situation like Propp says. But when I relate back to the Holocaust and all the different people who were involved and the millions of different stories that came out of it...well, surely all 31 of those actions and all of those different people e.g the Hero, the Villain, the Donor etc were all involved and therefore can be found?
It's hard for me to look at the Holocaust as a story because it was REAL. It happened and therefore it is FACT. And a horrific one at that. So to apply Propp's theory to this huge historical event and to find that it makes sense, to me it shows, that sometimes we can subconsciously apply a story like quality to certain situations in order to protect ourselves and somehow make hearing about it more bareable. 

So by seeing the photo's and the sketches of the prisoners - does that make it easier to take on board what happened because we are somehow separated and therefore sheltered from the true reality?

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