[color=pink] OK, so Vladamir Propp was a guy who studied Russian fairy tales in the 1920’s & 1930’s. He developed a system that could break down every hero story into 31 parts. In recent years his theory has been applied to movies in film classes in colleges across the United States.
When I was in a film studies class we were required to pick one of our favorite movies and apply Propp’s 31 functions.
I did my paper on Kill Bill (I treated vol. I & II as one movie). I was suprised by how well it worked. Other students applied it to film’s like Star Wars.
Do you agree with my paper? Can you think of any other moves where Propp’s functions would be applicable? Do you think it’s all a bunch of none sense or are you creeped out by how well it works?
Please tell me what you think!
Here is a link to a web page that explains all of Propp’s 31 functions: http://mural.uv.es/vifresal/Propp.htm
Here is my Kill Bill paper:
Quentin Tarantinoâ€™s Kill Bill volumes I. and II. Illustrate most of Vladimir Proppâ€™s 31 functions. Bill (Snake Charmer) represents the ultimate villain while the Bride (Black Mamba) is the hero/victim. Pai Mai is the donor, Hattori Hanzo is the helper, and Elle Driver (California Mountain Snake) is the false hero. Buck is unwittingly the dispatcher while the Brideâ€™s daughter is the princess in need of rescuing. Like most of Tarantinoâ€™s films the story is told out of sequence but if the viewer examines both volumes beginning with chapter one and ending with chapter ten, Proppâ€™s functions can be more readily applied.
The first seven functions of Proppâ€™s Preparation are as follows:
(1) A member of the family (The Bride) leaves home (Bill and Billâ€™s gang the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) because she discovers she is pregnant and chooses not to raise her daughter among a family of assassins.
(2) A rule is imposed upon the hero when Bill decides the Bride cannot leave him.
(3) The rule is broken when the Bride leaves Bill, changes her name, works in a record store and is in the process of marrying someone else.
(4) Bill makes an attempt at reconnaissance when he ambushes her wedding rehearsal party, fails to win her back and shoots her in the head.
(5) Bill learns the Bride is carrying his baby.
(6 & 7) The baby survives after her mother is shot in the head and is adopted by Bill. The Bride survives a four-year comma and when she awakens she believes her daughter is dead. Through Billâ€™s influence the Bride does not discover her daughter is alive until the end of volume II. In this way Bill tries to deceive the Bride and take possession of their child. This misinformation motivates the heartbroken hero to seek revenge and through her grief she fearlessly faces her oppressors and the possibility of death.
Proppâ€™s Functions of Complication are as follows:
(8a) Bill has his henchmen shoot everyone in the Brideâ€™s wedding rehearsal party including her fiancÃ©.
(8b) The Bride desires her daughter.
(9) From the moment the hero awakens from her comma her despair gives her a kind of internal command to go on a quest of revenge.
(10) The Bride makes a list of all those involved in the ambush but before she goes on her killing spree she decides she must go to Hattori Hanzo for help.
(11) She leaves for Japan to find Hattori Hanzo.
(12) Hanzo tests the bride by at first refusing to help her and then he throws a baseball at her head. She counters his attack with a sword and slices the baseball in half. She demands his assistance and refuses to take no for an answer. As a result, he builds her a superior weapon (Hanzo sword= a kind of magical agent).
Proppâ€™s Functions of Transference and Struggle:
(13) the Bride has flashbacks of her combat training with Pai Mai. She utilizes his lessons to defeat her enemies. Although this scene is supposed to have existed before conflict erupted between Bill and the Bride, Pai Mai is introduced to the audience as a new character or a â€œfuture donorâ€