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Revisiting a structural analysis of folktales: A means to an end?
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Lwin, S. M. (2009). Revisiting a structural analysis of folktales: A means to an end? The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2(1), 69-80.
Folktales have been regarded as the simplest form of narrative and tales from various cultures have been analyzed in terms of their stmcture. The structural analysis of tales can be claimed to begin with Propp's (1958/1968) Morphology of the Folktale. Following Propp's ground-breaking morphological classification of Russian tales, studies of structural typology of folktales from different cultures have given rise to story-grammars and led to the heyday of narratology. However, with the growing interest in narrative as a social and psychological phenomenon, structural analyses of stories have come under attack. It is contended that although the explorations of story structures have resulted in interesting descriptions of different models, what
is lacking is an explanation of how formal patterns are related to the story's content. Therefore, more recent works in narratological research have called for a narrative analysis to go beyond structures. This article revisits a structure analysis of folktales. Using a Myanmar (Burmese) folktale as a tutor text, it advocates an investigation of the relationship between form, function and field of a tale, and suggests a structural analysis as a means to gain insights into the cultural determination of the narrative motif and the social purpose of storytelling.
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