Propp and Lévi-Strauss: Homework

Just a reminder that your homework is due next Monday (24/08/15). (Click the image to download a copy of the handout if you need it)

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I’m asking you to complete the sheet you started in class. This involves two distinct, but related, tasks.


The first requires you to have chosen your own text and then identify Propp’s 7 types of characters in your chosen text (remembering that this might be expressed more accurately as 7 ‘patterns of behaviour‘). [PS: It is quite possible that 1 or more may not be present in your chosen text, but you are more likely to be able to identify all of them in what might be considered a ‘mainstream’ text… #justsaying]

You need to:

  • take a character from your text,
  • identify which Propp role the character fulfils, and then,
  • most importantly of all, explain and justify your point of view by referring to the text (this is the ‘evidence/explanation’ part of the equation.


Second, you need to identify some of the binary oppositions present in the text. These may be clear cut and obvious (such as between the ‘goodie’ and the ‘baddie’), or more subtle (such as between ‘youth/old age’) depending on the text. As before, you need to justify/support your thoughts by referring to the text.


I’ll be monitoring the comments through most of Sunday afternoon (subject to my own kids possibly needing to go to IKEA before heading to Uni!) so if you are stuck or have questions, I’ll get back to you asap.

What I would say is that you are welcome to add pictures to illustrate your work, and don’t forget some of the points we have already covered with regards representation and language. It’s really important that you keep using previous knowledge and terminology in order to build up your confidence and accuracy in using it.

Finally, if you search online, you will be very likely to encounter people talking about Propp’s 8 characters. The extra one is valid and makes perfect sense, but was not included in Propp’s original theory hence my references to 7. I am quite happy for anyone to include the 8th character… but I’m not telling you what it is! (AKA… you can do some of the work for yourselves)