From Firesides to the Modern Lounge: A Critical Appraisal of Film and Television Fairytales in Kenya
Muigai wa Gachanja
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Vladimir Propp, in 1928, published a groundbreaking text; Morphology of the Folktale, in which he outlined and defined the characteristics and morphology of fairytales. His work not only changed the study of folklore but also made scholars to rethink the way in which stories and storytelling affect the fabric of society and its ideals. Since 1928 to the present, there have been tremendous changes in the way in which stories are told. For instance, technology has changed the way people interact and communicate with each other. In the same vein, media and film conglomerates have taken a leading role in creating and/or reconstructing folktales for their audiences. This implies that the modern lounge has replaced traditional storytelling modes as children tune in to television for filmed stories. Thus, using critical theory and already aired Know Zone 1 folk tales, this paper examines how film and television fairytales are built and in the process establishes how traditional pedagogical values of these narratives are negotiated as the tales conform to modern technology. Further, while exploring traditional narrative types and motifs as portrayed in the selected fairytales for this study, we examine how these narrative texts reflect contemporary ethnographies of fan culture and the existence of multiple versions of seemingly fixed texts. In this endeavour, the study adopts a content-based analytic approach in presenting a detailed exegesis of the modern film and television fairytales in Kenya and uses psychodynamics of orality in appreciating these emergent forms of storytelling in the contemporary society.