miércoles, 31 de octubre de 2012

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.


One of Disney’s masterwork films is The Lion King.  While some may dismiss it as nothing more than a children’s movie, they fail to see that like most fairy tales it contains much deeper themes.  It’s a classic bildüngsroman, or coming-of-age story, that describes how a son matures into his father, or how men mature and become more like God.
The first image in the movie is a rising sun.  This is consistent with the theme of “The Circle of Life.”  The sun represents a never-deviating pattern of death and rebirth through its daily rising and setting, an eternal constant that embodies the “Circle of Life.”  The movie primarily deals with the Scar’s attempt not only to disrupt the entire cycle in his seizure of power, but also the internal cycle of growth in Simba.  Only by reclaiming his lost Self can Simba restore balance to the Pride Lands and to himself.
Scar is quickly characterized as the sinister antagonist.  His fur and mane are darker than the other lions’, and he constantly lurks in shadows.  He’s cruel to animals, as shown by his tormenting of a mouse which directly contrasts with Mufasa’s admonition to respect all creatures.  While all the other lions normally have their claws retracted, Scar’s alone remain constantly drawn.  However, his nefarious nature is made demonic in his song “Be Prepared,” where he descends into the underworld of the hyenas and stages his coup.  The same eerie green lighting used to depict the Underworld in Hercules is used here, as well as the skeletal dancing and gradual change to red lighting reminiscent of hellfire.  The director even makes an allusion to Hitler when the hyenas are marching past him in high-step.  All these forms of characterization serve to show the maniacal megalomaniac for what he really is.  
Simba’s education and growth begin by following the normal pattern of father instructing son.  Mufasa is the perfect king.  His fur is golden while his mane is red, both regal colors.  Every step he takes is full of majesty, a noted contrast from the skulking walk Scar has developed.  Simba’s maturation will be complete when he is like his father.  However, he still has a long way to grow, as illustrated when Simba places his tiny paw into his father’s larger paw print and when juxtaposing Simba’s ineffectual growl with Mufasa’s deep-throated, awe inspiring roar.  It is not only a physical growth required, but a spiritual growth as well.  As a cub Simba does not understand the role of being a king.  “But I thought kings could do whatever they want,” he says.  At the end of the movie, Scar paraphrases Simba’s words, showing that he never developed the true wisdom and maturity of a king.  “I’m king. I can do whatever I want.”
Water is a strong motif throughout the work.  Scar consistently tries to place Simba in waterless places to kill him.  Instead of going to the watering hole, Simba goes to the Elephant Graveyard and is nearly eaten by hyenas.  When he goes to the gorge, a place that once held water but no longer does, he is nearly killed by the stampede.  At last Simba collapses in a wasteland where the earth is hard and cracked from the arid climate.  Water is a symbol of life, a vital component of any creature’s survival.  When Scar tries to force Simba away from water, he is in essence trying to force him away from life.   After the stampede, the gorge is filled with obscuring dust, akin to the grief that now clouds Simba’s mind.  It is through this confusion that Scar is able to manipulate Simba’s emotional state and exile him from the Pride Lands.  The thorn brambles Simba passes through could be interpreted as the mental tangle of lies that Scar places him in and remains with him well into his adult life, preventing him from returning and reaching his full potential.  The broken tree Mufasa lies under is not only a clue to his lifeless state, but also a breaking of son from father and a break in the normal cycles of life.  Mufasa can no longer directly aid Simba in developing.  While some may believe that Simba’s initial leave from his kingdom was abandonment, it is in fact a necessary respite so he can seek a new way to strengthen physically and psychically to defeat Scar.  If he were to continue to fight Scar without maturing, he would lose.
Water is also a symbol of change and it provides life by allowing people to change or develop.  When Timon and Pumba revive Simba, they do so by splashing him with water.  Their home is filled with water that allows a lush jungle to grow.  Similarly Simba continues to grow in the sheltered environment the two provide, as well as gain a respect for the other animals as his father had directed.  The obvious visible symbols showing his growth is the montage of Simba’s ageing as he crosses the log.  The three images shown behind him are first trees, a symbol of constant growth, a waterfall, signifying constant change and finally a full moon, another symbol of change with its constant waxing and waning.  However, the moon shown is full, indicating his physical growth is complete.
Dandelions are a motif used throughout Disney movies.  In Beauty and the Beast, Bell sings “I want adventure in the great, wide somewhere” as she releases dandelions into the wind.  As though in response, the horse Philippe comes to take her to the Beast’s castle.  Similarly in The Lion King, when Simba has outgrown his childhood sanctuary, his discontented sigh and dropping body release dandelion seeds that summon Rafiki.  The releasing of dandelion seeds signifies that the protagonist has completed what growth he can accomplish on his own as a child and now needs someone to bring him into the world to complete his maturation.  It is his call to the outside world that he is ready to join it.
The monkey Rafiki serves the role of prophet and spiritual guide to Simba.  At the beginning of the movie, Rafiki is the one to anoint Simba, an allusion to the Hebrew prophet Samuel anointing the young David in preparation of his future regal role.  The monkey also carries a staff, similar to that of Moses.  Just as a prophet leads people to God, Rafiki leads Simba to Mufasa.  As Scar earlier entrapped Simba within the brambles of lies, Rafiki guides him back through the branches, back to the living father Mufasa that Simba had left for dead.
Mufasa has now taken on characteristics of the divine, dwelling in the heavens as a star and looking down on mortals.  But as Rafiki reveals, “He lives on in you.”  Simba’s inherent royalty and divinity had been forgotten through a combination of Scar’s lies and his own interrupted initiation into adulthood.  Again it is through water that Simba is first able to see this inner quality and it allows him to make the final change necessary to complete his psychic development.  Mufasa’s only advice to Simba is to remember who he truly is, the son of a king.  Similarly, humans must remember that they are sons and daughters of God in order to become more like Him in their own development.
The next scene shows the sanctuary Timon and Pumba provided the young lion, but now it is enveloped in mist.  While Simba required this place as a retreat for growth, he now no longer needs it, and it has receded into misty obscurity. The sun is shown as Simba rushes back to the Pride Lands.  The internal cycle that he possessed at birth was then represented by the sun.  Now that the break in his psyche that Scar inflicted has been healed, the sun has returned.  His own internal cycle is complete once more, and he can now fix the external break that Scar has imposed on the Pride Lands. 
This disruption is clearly shown through pathetic fallacy.  When Mufasa reigned, the land was vibrant, but under Scar it has become grey and lifeless.  The fire that ignites under Simba does so just before Scar reveals his crimes and later consumes him and the hyenas, for now Scar is no longer veiling his demonic nature from Simba.  In addition, or perhaps in tandem, to its symbolic representation of Hell, fire is often used as a symbol of cleansing because it removes impurities.  The following rains not only revivify the land, but wash away the bones left by Scar and the hyenas.  This dual baptism by fire and water serve as a reconsecrating of the land for good or God.
Both Scar and Sarabi mistook Simba for his father.  It was not only his physical resemblance, but his maturity that makes him appear as Mufasa.  He has become like his father and obtained the wisdom of a true king.  After Scar’s defeat, Simba walks up the rock face to take his place as king.  It’s only now that his steps are filled with the same majesty that accompanied Mufasa’s every movement when the old king ascended the same rise and only now that his roar is as fierce as his father’s.
Like Simba, humans bare the divine within them.  If we shelter this nature and allow it to grow despite the lying and murderous antagonists in our lives, it can blossom into something amazing.  By remembering that we are offspring of deity, we can bring this nature forth into the world when it is grown and restore a portion of the world’s paradisiacal glory.  That is the true tale of The Lion King.

What is a myth?
A myth is a story with a purpose. It tries to explain the way the world is. Myths also try to explain the relationship between gods and humans. Even though the events in a myth are usually impossible, they try to send a message that has an important social or religious meaning.
People have always tried to figure out common questions like who made the universe or questions like what causes a storm. Religion, gods, and myths were created when people tried to make sense out of these questions. For early people myths were like science because they explain how things work.  They also explained other questions that are now answered through modern science.

What is a legend?

Legend has several related meanings. A legend today may be someone of noted celebrity, with larger-than-life accomplishments, whose fame is well-known. Another meaning of legend is a literary genre. In this capacity, the term legend is much-abused, used synonymously withmyth, tall tale, and history. However, it makes more sense to use the term legend — as it is, in fact, often used — to name a type of literature that falls somewhere between myth, tall tales, and history and that otherwise has no name.
In this sense, legend differs from myth, if we understand myth to be focused on explaining natural phenomena, answering questions about why things are the way they are in the natural world, because legend is focused on individuals and their accomplishments. Legend also differs from tall tales, which focus on hyperbole — and therefore humor — and intentionally ascribe inventions and innovations to a hero to whom they do not belong for the sake of the story. Finally, legend is separated from history by the fact that its content, once believed to have been true, turns out to be fictional. The heroes of legend in this sense, then, are fictional heroes or real people whose exploits aren’t quite what they’re made out to be, who were either so lifelike or so admirable that people wished they were real. This description fits the works and heroes typically associated with the genre.

What is a fable?
Fable is a literary genre. A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities such as verbal communication), and that illustrates or leads to an interpretation of a moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be added explicitly in a pithy maxim.
A fable differs from a parable in that the latter excludes animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech and other powers of humankind
Usage has not always been so clearly distinguished. In the King James Version of the New Testament, "μύθος" ("mythos") was rendered by the translators as "fable" in First and Second Timothy, in Titus and in First Peter.
A person who writes fables is a fabulist.

What is a fairy tale?
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls,dwarves, giants, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies. The stories may nonetheless be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.
In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any farfetched story or tall tale; it's used especially of any story that not only isn't true, but couldn't possibly be true.
In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times.
Fairy tales are found in oral and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre; the name "fairy tale" was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.
The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults, as well as children, but they were associated with children as early as the writings of the précieuses; the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time.
Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. The Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp are among the most notable. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.

Tall tales:
A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, for example fish stories ('the fish that got away') such as, "that fish was so big, why I tell ya', it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!" Other tall tales are completely fictional tales set in a familiar setting, such as the European countryside, theAmerican Old West, the Canadian Northwest, or the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Tall tales are often told so as to make the narrator seem to have been a part of the story. They are usually humorous or good-natured. The line between myth and tall tale is distinguished primarily by age; many myths exaggerate the exploits of their heroes, but in tall tales the exaggeration looms large, to the extent of becoming the whole of the story.

Tales around the world...

What is a Folk Tale?
A folk tale is a story or legend handed down from generation to generation usually by oral retelling. Folk tales often explain something that happens in nature or convey a certain truth about life. A folktale is a story or legend forming part of an oral tradition. Folktales possess many or all of the characteristics listed below.
·                     The beginning of the story starts with "Once upon a time . . . " or a similar phrase.
·                     Magic events, characters, and objects are part of the story
·                     One character is someone of royalty (king, queen, prince, princess, etc.)
·                     One character is wicked.
·                     One character is good.
·                     Goodness is rewarded in the story.
·                     Certain numbers like three and seven are in the story (three eggs, seven sisters, etc.)
·                     The story ends with ". . . they lived happily ever after." 

African Tales:
In the African folk tales, the stories reflect the culture where animals abound; consequently, the monkey, elephant, giraffe, lion, zebra, crocodile, and rhinoceros appear frequently along with a wide variety of birds such as the ostrich, the secretary bird, and the eagle. The animals and birds take on human characteristics of greed, jealousy, honesty, loneliness, etc. Through their behavior, many valuable lessons are learned. Also, the surroundings in which the tales take place reveal the vastness of the land and educate the reader about the climate, such as the dry season when it hasn't rained for several years, or the rainy season when the hills are slick with mud. The acacia trees swaying in a gentle breeze, muddy streams that are home to fish, hippos and crocodiles, moss covered rocks, and giant ant hills that serve as a "back scratcher" for huge elephants, give the reader a sense of the variety of life in this parched or lush land in this part of the world.
·                     Latinamerican Tales:

Latinamerican tales:

·                     Are generally part of the oral tradition of a group.
·                     Are more frequently told than read
·                     Are passed down from one generation to another
·                     Take on the characteristics of the time and place in which they are told
·                     Sometimes take on the personality of the storyteller
·                     Speak to universal and timeless themes.
·                     Try to make sense of our existence, help humans cope with the world in which they live, or explain the origin of something.
·                     Are often about the common person
·                     May contain supernatural elements
·                     Function to validate certain aspects of culture
Some Latinamerican tales are: "The coyote and the rabbit" and "The jaguar and the little skunk" 

·                     Asian tales:

This tales are told in their local dialects (Japanese folktales for example) which may be difficult to understand because of intonation and pronunciations differences, conjugations and vocabulary.
The animals or creatures are known by their abilities, foxes are mentioned frequently for instance. Another characteristic that these tales contain is marriages between humans and non-humans.
The Asian tales allow children to experience the culture and heritage or tradition.
Some examples of Asian tales are: "The jade emperor and the four dragons" and "Chasing the monk's shadow "

·                     Australian tales:

Australia traditional storytelling, handed down from generation to generation, has always been part of the landscape. Since the beginning of time (the Dreaming) storytelling played a vital role in Australian Aboriginal culture, one of the world’s oldest cultures. Aboriginal children were told stories from a very early age; stories that helped them understand the air, the land, the universe, their people, their culture and their history. Elders told stories of their journeys and their accomplishments. As the children grew into adults they took on the responsibility of passing on the stories. These stories are as much a cultural necessity as they are entertainment and are still passed on orally though many are now recorded in print, audio and video. 
Some examples of Australian tales are: ."The Galah, and Oolah the lizard", "Bahloo the moon and the daens".

"A famous fairy tale analyzed by Propp's taxonomy"

" Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper"
By Charles Perrault

Absentation: Cinderella's mother abandones her when she is a little child.

Interdiction: When Cinderella's godmother commands her not to stay past midnight, telling her at the same time, that if she stays one moment longer, the couch would be a pumpkin again, her clothes and each animal used for going at the ball would become just as they were before.

Violation of interdiction: As Cinderella enjoys dacing with the King's son, she does not realize what time it is. She thinks that it is eleven o'clock. Suddenly, the clock strikes twelve so she jumps up and fleeds as nimble as a deer.

Reconnaissance: After Cinderella’s mother dies, her father marries another woman with her own daughter. This is the first time Cinderella meets them. Her wicked stepmother has a strong power over the heroine’s father, so that she can control him.

Trickery: The stepsisters promise Cinderella to go to the ball if she helps them to choose the suitable clothes for the party, the hairstyle and the kind of jewels they are going to wear and so on. Cinderella manages to do whatever stepsisters want to. Few minutes later, stepsisters ask Cinderella if she would like to come with them and she accepts it. However, stepsisters tell her that she is not so elegant to go to such a place and people would laugh at her.

Complicity: Cinderella acts in a way that the evil stepmother and the wicked stepsisters take advantage of her shyness and force her to work hard, do difficult tasks and also deceive the prince when he gets their house to find the owner of the glass slipper.

Villiany and lack: The stepmother governes Cinderella’s father and he never protects her or defends her against his wife. She also causes harm over Cinderella because she suffers a lot.

Mediation: Cinderella realizes how things really are. She is conscious of her wicked stepsisters and stepmother’s performance.

Counter-action: The prince begins to try the glass slipper on the princesses, then the duchesses and all the court, but in vain. Then, the two Cinderella's stepsisters appears, who do all they possibly can to force their foot into the slipper, but they do not succeed. As Cinderella sees all this, and knows that it is her slipper, she asks for the prince to put it on her foot and it fits her perfectly well. Her stepsisters are astonished, then Cinderella pulls out of her pocket the other slipper and puts it on her other foot.

Departure: The heroine leaves the ball before midnight because she is afraid that the magic disappears.

Test: The fairy godmother (donor) helps Cinderella to fulfill her dream, providing her a beautiful dress, a pair of glass slippers, jewels, a carriage to go to the party by turning a pumpkin into a coach, a rat into a coachman, lizard into footmen and mice into horses. Besides, her godmother commands Cinderella not to stay past midnight.

Reaction of the hero: Cinderella promises to come back before midnight though she fails and forgets about it so she has to rush.

Magical gift: Cinderella's godmother gives her a pair of glass slippers, which will help her to be recognized by the prince.

Brand situation: Cinderella suffers a lot because of her stepmother and stepsisters who make her sleep in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed. Her stepmother employs Cinderella in the meanest work of the house and also leaves her at home while the ball is taking place.

Victory: Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters throw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all ill treatment they make her. Finally, Cinderella defeats them since she gets married to the prince and both live happily in the palace. 

Initial misfortune is solved: In spite of having many obstacles, Cinderella manges to attend to the royal festival and meets the prince who marries her lately.

Return: Cinderella comes back home after the ball and nobody suspects about her performance.

Rescue: Cinderella is given a beautiful dress and glass slippers to go to the ball. this helps the prince to know who belongs to.

Unrecognized: When Cinderella arrives at the ball, everyone stops dancing, and the violins cease to play. As she is beautifully dressed, nobody is able to recognize her.

False hero: Cinderella's stepsisters do all they possibly can to force their foot into the slipper, but they do not succeed.

Difficult task: When Cinderella asks her stepmother to go to the ball , the woman says she will go if she helps her as well as her stepsisters to decide on what kind of clothes, jewels and the hairstyle they should wear for the party. As she manages to do all perfectly well, she begins to prepare for the occassion, but her stepmother tells Cinderella that she can't go because she doesn't belong to the upper class as they do and people will laugh at her, too. When they leave, she starts to cry. 

Solved task: As Cinderella's godmother sees her all in tears, she asks her what her trouble is. Cinderella explains to her that she wants to go to the ball, but she doesn't have suitable clothes for it. So her godmother fulfills her desire doing some magic. Few minutes later, Cinderella is the prettiest woman in the world.

Recognition: As Cinderella knows that she is the owner of the glass slipper, she tells the prince that he should try on her foot. The prince is astonished, however, he puts the glass slipper on her foot and it fits her very easily.
Then, her godmother comes in and touches her wand to Cinderella's clothes, making them richer and more significant than before. The prince recognizes her immidiately. She leaves with him dressed like an ordinary girl for he thinks she looks more charming. A few days later, they get married.

Unmask conspiracy: Both stepsisters are exposed and reported by two great lords of the court.

New appearance: Cinderella changes her look when attending to the royal festival, so that nobody is able to recognize her neither Her stepmother nor her stepsisters. They get astonished because of her beauty but they never imagine Cinderella is that pretty woman.

Punishment: There is not any punishment in Perrault's story, butCinderella forgives her stepsisters with all her heart, and she also tells them that she wants to love her for ever.

Wedding at last: As Cinderella is the owner of the glass slipper, the pince announces her that he falls in love with her. Immidiately, he proposes her marriage and she accepts it. Thus, Cinderella gains the throne.

Vladimir Propp also includes seven kinds of characters in fairy tales:

The villian: Cinderella's stepmother mistreats her and forces her to do hard work all the time.

The donor: The fairy godmother gives Cinderella a beautiful dress, a pair of glass slippers, jewels, as well as the carriage to get to the palace.

The magical helper: The fairy godmother appears whenever she needs her.

The princess and her father: Cinderella is the one who marries the prince.

The dispatcher: There is not any dispatcher in Perrault's version. The prince announces that he wants to find out who the glass slipper belongs to. He goes at the palace where he tries the glass slipper on every person who meets by chance. Suddenly, Cinderella's stepsisters appear and try to put it on their foot but it does not fit them. As Cinderella sees all this, she closes to the prince and tells him that he should try the glass slipper on her foot. The prince is surprised but he does it and it fits perfectly well.

The hero or victim/seeker hero: In the end, Cinderella weds the prince.

False hero: Cinderella's stepsisters do all they can to force their foot into the slipper for they want to marry the prince, but they do not succeed.