Crossing Cultural Borders: Vladimir Propp's Functions in the Fairy Tales of Grimm and Jacobs

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This thesis is a contribution to the discussion of one of the key figures in the study of fairy tales: Vladimir Propp and his work Morphology of the Folktale. His framework is based around 31 functions which, he claims, are the basis of the structure of all plotlines of Russian fairy tales. The debate is centred around the question as to whether his framework can also be applied to fairy tales from other cultures. This thesis aims to answer that question with a close reading of tales from 2 collections, three tales from The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales collected by the brothers Grimm and three from English Fairy Tales collected by Joseph Jacobs. The analysis will show that the framework can be used to find the structure of the Grimm tales, but that there are some issues with Jacobs tales. This conclusion contributes to the academic discussion and shows that further research should be done to make the framework more cross-culturally applicable.
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