Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth

        Today we had a lecture from Dr. Deveny about the movie “Pan’s Labyrinth” and it was much different from other lectures we have had. Other lectures were about fairy tales from other countries and cultures, but this lecture was about a movie which displayed fairy tale themes. It showed various things such as the use of the number three in fairy tales. The main protagonist, Ofelia, had to accomplish three tasks in order to gain entrance into her home world. Even within the three tasks there was use of the number three. For example, Ofelia had to retrieve a golden key from a toad’s stomach by making him shallow three rocks. 
We also went through Valdimir Propp’s thirty-one functions of fairy tales, and saw how they related to the movie. We not only saw some functions relate to the fairy tale aspect of the movie, but these functions were also used with the historic aspect as well. For example, Valdimir’s fourth function mentions how the villain tries to gain information, which is what the captain did when trying to find the guerrillas hiding in the forest. Another function seen in the historic aspect of the movie was when the captain is shot, which is Propp’s thirtieth function where the villain is punished. 


Deveny, Thomas. “Once Upon a Time in Spain in 194: The Morphology of El laberinto   del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth).” Westminster. 26 Apr. 2012. Lecture

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This past Tuesday Dr. Shabbir Mian came into our class and gave a presentation titled “Rupkoth”. In his lecture, he taught us a lot about fairy and folk tales from Bangladesh. He taught us how the tales were passed on orally, created over a thousand years ago, and were used to teach others various life lessons.I had already known all of this information, if not assumed, because this is how it seems all fairy tales originally were. 
Even though I already knew a lot of the things Dr. Mian talked about, there were many things which I did not know about Bangladesh folk and fairy tales. For example, he taught us that in their culture, red is designated as a pure beautiful color, while usually for our culture, it is used for more gruesome or darker images like blood, demons, or even the devil. He also went into great detail about various collections of their fairy and folk tales, each of which involved names which were incredibly long and complex to me. For example the Panchatantra, which is a collection of sanskrit fables, was made in 550 AD. Then a more modern collection of tales is the Lal Behari Dey which was made in 1875. Even though his presentation had a lot of information I already knew, I still learned a lot.


Mian, Shabbir. “Rupkoth.” Westminster. 17 Apr. 2012. Lecture

Sunday, April 15, 2012


In the past week, our class has read fairy tales from one of my favorite authors of all time, Oscar Wilde. His tales had some difference from other tales we have read in class so far. One difference which can be seen is in tale “The Nightingale and the Rose” when a life is given in order to make a red rose. The rose was to be given for a date, however when the boy offered it to the girl, she replied no and he threw the rose away. This tale is different because it makes the sacrifice seem meaningless. In other tales we have read, when someone sacrifices their life, something is gotten back.


Another difference which can be seen in his other work, “The Selfish Giant” is the introduction of a religious theme. Other works we have read introduce a divine theme to it such as “Urashima the Fisherman”, but none have actually introduce a religious theme. This religion can be seen in “The Selfish Giant” when the giant goes out to see the boy he once loved, only to have the boy with nail wounds in his hands and feet, inferring that he is Jesus. Lastly, it reference a garden as Paradise, which can be viewed as heaven or the Garden of Eden. 


Friday, April 6, 2012

Storytelling in Kenya

       On Tuesday, Dr. Ochlieng’ K’ Olewe came in and talked to our class about folktales and storytelling from Kenya. This lecture was different from the other lectures we have had so far and by far this one was my favorite. While with the other lectures, we would sit and listen and answer some questions, Dr. Olewe would have the entire class stand up and sing along with him. Along with that, he would have us all dance along to whoever was asked to lead the rest of us. This lecture was the best one we have had so far, but it was also very educational.
He taught us about the various types of storytelling and folktales in Kenya. I originally thought that folktales were just told to help teach lessons to others, however in Kenya there are many other purposes for folktales. The tales are used to teach lessons, create a sense of community and teach others about history. It is also used to explain the order of things in life; for example, Dr. Olewe told us this story of how a ear chose the human head over the mosquito, so from that point the mosquito buzzes past one’s ear. I learned a lot from his lecture while having fun.


Olewe, Ochieng K. “Folktale and Storytelling Tradition from Kenya.” Westminster. 3 Apr. 2012. Lecture