FROM: The Morphology of the Folk Tale
by Vladimer Propp, 1928
1. One of the members of a family absents himself from home.
2. An interdiction is addressed to the hero.
3. The interdiction is violated.
4. The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance.
5. The villain receives information about his victim.
6. The villain attempts to deceive his victim in order to take possession
of him or his belongings.
7. The victim submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps his enemy.
8. The villain causes harm or injury to a member of a family or, 8a, one member
of a family either lacks something or desires to have something.
9. Misfortune or lack is made known; the hero is approached with a request
or command; he is allowed to go or he is dispatched.
10. The seeker agrees to or decides upon counteraction.
11. The hero leaves home.
12. The hero is tested, iterrogated, attacked, etc., which prepares the way for
his receiving either a magical agent or helper.
13. The hero reacts to the actions of the future donor.
14. The hero acquires the use of a magical agent.
15. The hero is transferred, delivered, or led to the whereabouts of an
object of search.
16. The hero and the villain join in direct combat.
17. The Hero is branded.
18. The villain is defeated.
19. The initial misfortune or lack is liquidated.
20. The hero returns
21. The hero is pursued.
22. Rescue of the hero from pursuit.
23. The hero, unrecognized, arrives home or in another country.
24. A false hero presents unfounded claims.
25. A difficult task is proposed to the hero.
26. The task is resolved.
27. The hero is recognized.
28. The false hero or villain is exposed.
29. The hero is given a new appearance.
30. The villain is punished.
31. The hero is married and ascends the throne.
This list of elements has been simplified by a number of critics.
For practical purposes, we call it Propp-R (R is for Revised):
o Protagonist has initial harmony
1. Protagonist descovers a lack
2. Protagonist goes on a quest
3. Protagonist finds helpers/opponents
4. Protagonist is given tests
5. Protagonist is rewarded, or a new lack develops
When using the second model, it is traditional to discuss the number of moves.
A move occurs each time the hero goes through elements 1 through 5, until all
the lacks are eliminated and the hero is given his final reward and the story ends.
Scott A. Mellor
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin