An Application of Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale to Korean Folktales
Choi, Myung H.
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Vladimir Propp's formula for identifying the structure of the Russian folktale is applicable to a formal analysis of the Korean folktale. Proppian analysis showed that in the Russian folktale there are identifiable basic components whose combination into complex wholes is governed by equally identifiable rules. While it is necessary to modify the catalog of Propp's functions (both adding and subtracting elements) in analyzing the Korean folktale, the idea of a formal system will remain. Further, the differences in the elements comprising the catalog will change in a given culture, indicating important cultural differences. The additional functions of the conversion of the villain, death, and reincarnation suggest that in Korean culture, individuals are not as fixed and separate as in Russian and perhaps European folklore. A morphological analysis of the Korean folktale allows an understanding of Korean culture and may perhaps also serve to preserve the cultural identity.