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ERIC Number: ED011328
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1966
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
A STRUCTURAL APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN.
NEUMEYER, PETER F.
A SCHEME FOR CATEGORIZING THE STRUCTURE OF CHILDREN'S STORIES IS OUTLINED BY THE AUTHOR. THE SCHEME, PARTLY DERIVED FROM THE WORK OF VLADIMIR PROPP, IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE TESTABLE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE BOOKS AND STORIES CHILDREN PREFER. THE AUTHOR SUGGESTS THAT THERE ARE COMMON DENOMINATORS WITHIN STORIES, SEQUENCES OF ACTION OR REACTION, THAT, NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE SUPERSTRUCTURE MAY VARY, ALWAYS REMAIN THE SAME. IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT THESE "FUNCTIONS" FOLLOW AN IDENTICAL SET SEQUENCE, THOUGHT IN ANY GIVEN TALE SOME FUNCTIONS MAY BE EXCLUDED. BY ASSIGNING SYMBOLS TO THESE FUNCTIONS ONE CAN OBTAIN AN OBJECTIVE COUNTERPART OF ONE DIMENSION OF A STORY. IT IS THEN POSSIBLE TO VARY ONE OF THE FUNCTIONS WHILE HOLDING THE OTHERS CONSTANT. SUCH STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS MIGHT ALSO SHOW SIMILARITIES AMONG TALES NOT USUALLY CATEGORIZED TOGETHER. FOR EXAMPLE, "PETER RABBIT" (1) RECEIVES INSTRUCTIONS NOT TO DO SOMETHING, (2) VIOLATES THE INSTRUCTIONS, AND (3) IS RESCUED FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE VIOLATION. OTHER STORIES FOLLOWING THIS STRUCTURAL SEQUENCE ARE "BABES IN THE WOODS,""LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD," AND "HANSEL AND GRETEL." IT MAY WELL BE THAT CERTAIN STRUCTURAL SEQUENCES APPEAL TO CHILDREN AT CERTAIN AGES, RATHER THAN THE BROAD GENERALIZATIONS OF ANIMAL OR ADVENTURE. WHILE FUNCTIONS ARE ONLY ONE (RELATIVELY CONTROLLABLE) INGREDIENT OF STORIES, AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE FUNCTIONS MAY ASSIST IN ANALYZING THE INTERACTION BETWEEN STORIES AND CHILDREN. (TC)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: CAMBRIDGE; PETER RABBIT