Dissertation > Literature > Chinese Literature > The body of literature reviews and research > Children's Literature

The Study on Morphology&Cultural Significance of Folk Fairy Tales Edited by Linlan

Author LiLiang
Tutor ChenQinJian
School East China Normal University
Course Folklore in Literature
Keywords [Folk fairytale] [Linlan] [Morphology] [Cultural significance] [Adult ceremony]
CLC I207.8
Type PhD thesis
Year 2013
Downloads 68
Quotes 0
Download Dissertation

As the fantasy expression of human experience, folk fairytales have stable structure and meaning care which is about independent growth and freedom of happiness. Namely, those plots such as getting treasures, passing ordeals and rising from the dead show the core issue of fairytale, that is "living a happy life and to be a rational person". Because of the free will and creation spirit in folk stories, those original collectors and recorders tended to find a way to national consciousness and to discuss the spirits of modern nation and individuals in human experience from the national fairytales. And this make folk tale has become a part of modern experience which pursue freedom and liberation of human. From1920s to1930s eight collections of Chinese folk fairytales signed by Linlan have been published by Beixin publishing house. By taking Zhou zuoren’s radical theory of fairytales as guidance, the chief editor Zhao Jinshen not only grasped the fantasy charater which believing in all things have spirit and primitive thinking which is difficult to be tamed, but also brought a forward-looking vision which is contribute to the birth of modern individuals by literature enlightment like supplying authentic folk fariy tales to children. Unfortunately, the connection between fairytales and individual’s freedom and perfection is no longer mentioned in our theory of fairytales, resulting in decline of fairytales and fantasy literary. This study tries to explore and reiterate the cultural significants of Chinese folk fairytales by making clear who is Linlan, the publishing status and the fairytale’s theory of her times and especially by providing cultural analysis of Chinese folk fairytales named by Linlan.This study uses method of Morphology to analysis Linlan’s folk fairytales, on the base of which comparative approaches including comparing different texts from different culture(west culture and east culture) and different folk customs in the world are taken to read those stories and it’s cultural psychological. All these work finally helps to explore the experience and problems of modernity from China’s farming culture(to discuss how fairytales tell and respond to the core idea of modernity about "freedom and perfection of individual ").The process of modernization could not have happpened out of the cultural tradition. Experience of mordernity has universal value, but it still have to face different history and culture situation. Linlan’s fairytales provide a kind of resource to understand Chinese culture and the modernity problem. On the one hand those stories present stable structure form which is almost the sanme as what Propp described and is corresponding with the structure of the primitive rituals and their psychological experience. Fairytales and rituals, each illuminates the other and both tell the inner darma and magic experience of becoming a real man and women. Under its’ structual framework, fairytales can talk with modernity thought. On the other hand the meaningful deviation from western folk stories make Linlan’s fairytale so special that it can constitute it’s own types. On the basis of plot analysis, cross-cultural text comparison and cultural psychological study, Linlan’s154fairytales can be identified five types, that is "treasure-getting type","treasure-losing type","ordeal type","leaving type" and "comic type". All these types form Linlan’s fairytales independly or compositely. Therefore, a specimen different from western folk fairytales has been obtained to show how China’s farming culture is writen in the fariy tales about "become a individual".The "treasure-getting type" corresponds to the giving action in the adult ceremony. By giving treasure fairytales have shaped the image honored by culture. Those brave and cunning individuals are praised in Grimm’s and Russian fairytales, in Linlan’s fariy tales kind-hearted and sympathetic ones are more than those in western fairy stories. But the difference is not be quite distinct from each other. Kindness and sympathy also means power and even is the initial impulse of giving action. It’s worth noting that all of the fairytales no matter from Chiese or western culture like magic things. By passing the treasures fairytales show how to make virtue and strengh remain alive and become sacred. The "treasure-losing type" ending with losing treasure not only breaks the impression of reading western fairytales but also reflects modernity problem hiden in this type. Since the treasures in fairytales and ritual marked and defined real human, treasure-losing metaphorizes forgetting of self-identity and losing of sacred space. Because of failing to see and get treasure, the farmer and the trader in those stories are trapped in profane space and eventually lost the ability to arrange the worldly affairs.The "ordeal type" highly fits with original adult ceremony and is highly similiar in structure with Green’s and Russian fairytales. Chinese and western fairytales both tell a story that the protagonist finally gets happy marriage by solving difficult problems of death threat. This can be also readed in folk materials around the world. Stories and folklore from different culture are related and complement each other according to which we can see how fariy tales and rituals create a sacred space. Even more important, Linlan’s "ordeal" fairytales embody gender discoure in adult problems. Generally speaking becoming a man gets more attention than being a women. The tales always speak of the protagonist’s marriage after he become adult, which ont only means he has taken father’s principle in stead of mother’s but also means he has walk into a new world of women from father’s world by getting a wife as his magic assistant. But there are still some problems when he gets in touch with the new world. For instance, although tales about the daughter of dragon and hundred-birds dress have extremely active female image, they really tell the fantasy of men to women and the mechanism of feudal imperial power based on robbing the power of women. So the stories of "snake husband" are more valuable because by the folk materails and psychological analysis the entanglements between the sisters and the deformation and resurrection of the third sister reflect the deeper meaning of the stories, that is about the transformation and identity in female’s life experience when a girl changes to beome a wife. The "leaving type" has images of wife leaving from her husband’s house that shows the process of women’s sinking from fairy to beast and the rebellious mentality of women as they are facing the transformation of marrige customs from uxorilocal residence to virilocal residence. Women get married as fariy and then are forced out as beast in this marriage tragedies, the deeper meaning of which is that because of the influence of confucian’s idea of separation from human to beast, Chinese people tend to repress unconsciousness and therefor it is difficult for them to keep creative and self-sufficient.For the modern individual what is indispensable is the ability to criticize. Nothing can make such strong criticism as laughter. By analyzing Linlan’s comic fairytales this research try to find and explain the expression of critisism of society and the farcical mechanism of comic literary. Linlan’s comic stories effectively combine comic(ridicule) and Carnival(mirth), criticism and creation together by writing stupidity and absurd desire finally leading to physical failure and describing grotesque body and grotesque body events. And just in this way Linlan’s fairytales provide high-quality national literature for modern children’s education.In short, the study on Linlan’s fairytales is committed to pursuit of methodology and value. Namely through integrating the methods of Morphology with cultural comparison study and psychological analysis, this paper not only research China’s cultural resources which show a path from farming civilization to modern civilization but also try to read individuals and their situation in culture. Finally let’s look forward hopefully that people and people’s culture which is marked by advocating freedom, independent, critical and creative become more prosperous.

Related Dissertations
More Dissertations