AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Fairyland Remains the Same: A Proppian Analysis of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by Anna Margrét Sveinsdóttir 1968

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Enska
Record ID: 1221931
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21166


The aim of this paper is to determine whether some new fairy tales share the same fundamental structure as the older ones. From ancient times, we have told each other fairy tales about heroes and villains and the struggle between good and bad. In each fairy tale, the characters and the environment vary with only the imagination as the limit. However, the narrative structure has turned out to be similar in fairy tales from all corners of the world. This interesting fact provoked me to examine the organization of a new fairy tale to verify this assertion. To accomplish this task I used one of the most popular fairy tales in later times as a research material: the first instalment in the book series about Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998). The structure of the story is analysed by using the method presented in Morphology of the Folktale by Vladimir Propp, which is considered to be one of the fundamental tools to analyse narrative structure. Propp analysed Russian fairy tales and concluded that all fairy tales share the same rudimentary structure. In this thesis, the story of Harry Potter is analysed by reading the book thoroughly and marking relevant elements of the story according to Propp’s method. In addition to how the elements of the story arrange themselves on the narrative axis, the existence of dramatis personae are also examined according to Propp’s theory. In the analysing process, it was endeavoured to follow Propp’s method as exactly as possible. The tabular data with the narrative elements is included in an Appendix to this thesis. I was intrigued to find that the structure of the story about Harry Potter closely follows Propp’s theory and thereby supports the assertion about a common structure, even in modern fairy tales.