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Vladimir Propp

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  • 1. Vladimir Propp. He broke up fairy tales in to sections, with these sections he was able to indentify series of sequences that will occur in fairytales He found eight types ofcharacters that appeared in hundred fairy tales that he called ‘spheres of action’.
  • 2. These are the eight types of characters.• The Hero- In every story there is a major character with whom the reader will normally associate most strongly and who is the key person around which the story is told. Although this person is often a hero in some sense, they may also take another form, such as a victim or a seeker after some treasure or knowledge. Or maybe they are all of these.• The Helper - The Hero is supported in his or her quest by a Helper, often a wise old man or magician, who appears at critical moments to provide support. Thus Obi Wan Kenobi appears to help Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, even after Kenobis death.The Helper may also be found in a support role, such as Sherlock Holmes Dr. Watson or Don Quixotes Sancho Panza. The contrast between the limitations of this person and the hero may provide a further elucidation of the heros defining characteristics such as intelligence, determination, courage, etc.Other helpers appear along the way as friends or random people who act pro-socially to support the Hero.• The Villain - The sharpest contrast against the hero is the villain, who struggles directly against the hero. This is the clearly bad-guy person such as Darth Vader in Star Wars or Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes. The Villain typically is morally bad, highlighting the goodness of the Hero. The Villain may seek to prevent the Hero from achieving the goal or may quest after the same artefact. The Villain may also be a tempter, such as when Darth Vader tries to seduce Luke Skywalker over to the dark side.• The False Hero- A variant on the villain and a potential complication within the plot is the False Hero, who appears to act heroically and may even be initially mistaken for the real Hero. The False Hero will try to steal the Heros thunder, grabbing the credit and perhaps trying to marry the princess instead. The False Hero is thus an usurper, a thief perhaps of the worst kind, who plays on peoples good nature to boldly steal in broad daylight. The False Hero may also gain the respect or other control of the Princesss Father, thus frustrating the Heros ability to gain the hand of the Princess.• The Donor- The Donor is a person who gives the Hero something special, such as a magical weapon or some particular wisdom. They may typically be Gods, Oracles or Wise Persons, although they may also be as simple as gatekeepers. This role may be combined with that of a Helper. The Donor may also be capricious and not easily swayed and may not give up their gift without setting the Hero another task, from a simple riddle to a whole other quest.• The Dispatcher-An early role in the story is that of the Dispatcher who sends the Hero on the mission. This may be a family member such as a mother or father. It can also be the Princesss Father, who gives the Hero a set of quests to be completed before he gains the hand of the Princess. The Dispatcher may also be combined with another role, for example the False Hero who then trails along behind (perhaps disguised as a Helper).• The Princess- The Princess may take two forms. First, she may be the object which is deliberately sought by the Hero, perhaps finding where the Villain has taken her. Secondly, she may be the reward, such that after completing some other mission, he gains her affections or hand in marriage. The Princess may be seen very little in the story, perhaps appearing only at the end, or may be an integral character, for example where she accompanies the Hero on his mission, where he may win her heart by the courage and determination of his actions. The Princess may be wooed by many, in particular by the False Hero. When we see the Princess being won by the False Hero we may rail and rant in frustration as we see her falling unwittingly into her clutches.• The Princesss Father- Finally, there is the Princesss Father, who constrains the Princess or who may Dispatch the Hero on his mission to save the Princess. The Princesss Father is a key figure for the Hero to persuade, as the Father is almost always protective of his daughter. The Father may also be in competition in some way with the Hero for the Princesss affections and a triangle may form.
  • 3. Using Propps characters to relate to my own production.• Hero- Final Girl (Lucy Ray) This is because of her personality and and her role she survives and the one who helps others in the film.• Villain- The Presenter( Grace Mckenzie) This is because this is the true killer in this plot.• Princess- Popular Girl ( Sarah may) This is because she is the pretty and she secondary male characters. This fits in well with the features of other characters that fit this role.• Dispatcher-• False Hero- Presenter (Grace Mckenzie) This is because she is the ‘undercover killer’ she comes across as hero( friend) to the contestants.• False Villain- Producer ( The Producer) this is because he is perceived as the villain but in actual fact his the hero.
  • 4. We where then asked to applythis theory to two horror trailers.
  • 5. Cabin In the Woods Cabin In the Wood Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXfc12BqFkc
  • 6. The helper:The Cabin In The Woods This is because he helps the ‘The Hero’ multiple times throughput the movie. And even saves her from death at one point. The Dispatcher: In some way this character is the dispatcher because he is secondary to the villain. But tells her workers what to do and is operating the ‘set up traps’ for her.The false The Villain: The The The Hero :hero: This is the villain she is the leader donor : princess: She is theHe is the false behind these evil acts of murder. This She is herohero because This is shown by her power over character the because shethrough out people. And the types of things is the princess has a drasticthe film we she does to the people, and the donor because change insee him as amount of workers she has. because she is personalitythe leader of he is the who the by the endthe group wise man ‘False of the film., finding ways of the Hero’ is For exampleto escape and group trying to she is asaving and save and strongpeople. This continuo look leaderis until he is usly after also, she iskilled helps through the last oneoff, highlighti ‘The out the standing atng his Hero’ out film. the end.immortality . .
  • 7. FunctionsAfter the initial situation is depicted, the tale takes the following sequence of 31 functions:[3]ABSENTATION: A member of a family leaves the security of the home environment. This may be the hero or some other member ofthe family that the hero will later need to rescue. This division of the cohesive family injects initial tension into the storyline. Thehero may also be introduced here, often being shown as an ordinary person.INTERDICTION: An interdiction is addressed to the hero (dont go there, dont do this). The hero is warned against some action(given an interdiction).VIOLATION of INTERDICTION. The interdiction is violated (villain enters the tale). This generally proves to be a bad move and thevillain enters the story, although not necessarily confronting the hero. Perhaps they are just a lurking presence or perhaps theyattack the family whilst the hero is away.RECONNAISSANCE: The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance (either villain tries to find the children/jewels etc.; or intendedvictim questions the villain). The villain (often in disguise) makes an active attempt at seeking information, for example searchingfor something valuable or trying to actively capture someone. They may speak with a member of the family who innocentlydivulges information. They may also seek to meet the hero, perhaps knowing already the hero is special in some way.DELIVERY: The villain gains information about the victim. The villains seeking now pays off and he or she now acquires some formof information, often about the hero or victim. Other information can be gained, for example about a map or treasure location.TRICKERY: The villain attempts to deceive the victim to take possession of victim or victims belongings (trickery; villaindisguised, tries to win confidence of victim). The villain now presses further, often using the information gained in seeking todeceive the hero or victim in some way, perhaps appearing in disguise. This may include capture of the victim, getting the hero togive the villain something or persuading them that the villain is actually a friend and thereby gaining collaboration.COMPLICITY: Victim taken in by deception, unwittingly helping the enemy. The trickery of the villain now works and the hero orvictim naively acts in a way that helps the villain. This may range from providing the villain with something (perhaps a map ormagical weapon) to actively working against good people (perhaps the villain has persuaded the hero that these other people areactually bad).VILLAINY or LACK: Villain causes harm/injury to family member (by abduction, theft of magical agent, spoiling crops, plunders inother forms, causes a disappearance, expels someone, casts spell on someone, substitutes child etc., commitsmurder, imprisons/detains someone, threatens forced marriage, provides nightly torments); Alternatively, a member of familylacks something or desires something (magical potion etc.). There are two options for this function, either or both of which mayappear in the story. In the first option, the villain causes some kind of harm, for example carrying away a victim or the desiredmagical object (which must be then be retrieved). In the second option, a sense of lack is identified, for example in the herosfamily or within a community, whereby something is identified as lost or something becomes desirable for some reason, forexample a magical object that will save people in some way.MEDIATION: Misfortune or lack is made known, (hero is dispatched, hears call for help etc./ alternative is that victimized hero issent away, freed from imprisonment). The hero now discovers the act of villainy or lack, perhaps finding their family or communitydevastated or caught up in a state of anguish and woe.BEGINNING COUNTER-ACTION: Seeker agrees to, or decides upon counter-action. The hero now decides to act in a way that willresolve the lack, for example finding a needed magical item, rescuing those who are captured or otherwise defeating the villain.This is a defining moment for the hero as this is the decision that sets the course of future actions and by which a previouslyordinary person takes on the mantle of heroism.DEPARTURE: Hero leaves home;
  • 8. FIRST FUNCTION OF THE DONOR: Hero is tested, interrogated, attacked etc., preparing the way for his/her receivingmagical agent or helper (donor);HEROS REACTION: Hero reacts to actions of future donor (withstands/fails the test, frees captive, reconcilesdisputants, performs service, uses adversarys powers against him);RECEIPT OF A MAGICAL AGENT: Hero acquires use of a magical agent (directlytransferred, located, purchased, prepared, spontaneously appears, eaten/drunk, help offered by other characters);GUIDANCE: Hero is transferred, delivered or led to whereabouts of an object of the search;STRUGGLE: Hero and villain join in direct combat;BRANDING: Hero is branded (wounded/marked, receives ring or scarf);VICTORY: Villain is defeated (killed in combat, defeated in contest, killed while asleep, banished);LIQUIDATION: Initial misfortune or lack is resolved (object of search distributed, spell broken, slain personrevived, captive freed);RETURN: Hero returns;PURSUIT: Hero is pursued (pursuer tries to kill, eat, undermine the hero);RESCUE: Hero is rescued from pursuit (obstacles delay pursuer, hero hides or is hidden, hero transformsunrecognisably, hero saved from attempt on his/her life);UNRECOGNIZED ARRIVAL: Hero unrecognized, arrives home or in another country;UNFOUNDED CLAIMS: False hero presents unfounded claims;DIFFICULT TASK: Difficult task proposed to the hero (trial by ordeal, riddles, test of strength/endurance, other tasks);SOLUTION: Task is resolved;RECOGNITION: Hero is recognized (by mark, brand, or thing given to him/her);EXPOSURE: False hero or villain is exposed;TRANSFIGURATION: Hero is given a new appearance (is made whole, handsome, new garments etc.);PUNISHMENT: Villain is punished;WEDDING: Hero marries and ascends the throne (is rewarded/promoted).Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Propp
  • 9. Evaluation: Over all I think that Vladimir Propp Theory on the eight character types can be seen in many horror films. And has similar for to stock characters. I feel that his thirty one functions are correct in the aspects of fairy tales but all thethirty one sequences dont appear in horror movies some do but, not always in that order and some tend to be missing.