Removal (main project)

Preliminary Exercise

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Board Game Evaluation

Our board game was based on the story of The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen, adapted by Disney into a popular animated film. It is a story that follows roughly Vladimir Propp’s narrative structure. We attempted to include elements of Propp’s theory in our board game, and also thought about the aspects of the theory that did not apply to our story.

There are quite a few character types in Propp’s theory that correspond with characters in The Little Mermaid. For example, the hero in the story is Ariel, a beautiful mermaid who weds the handsome prince at the end. The villain who struggles against the hero is Ursula, the evil sea-witch. She also serves as the donor, as although she does so with less than honourable intentions, she provides Ariel with legs so she can go to the surface. Ursula has a third purpose too. She is the false hero who attempts to usurp Ariel and marry Prince Eric herself by using her dark magic to transform herself into a beautiful young woman and pretending to be Ariel. The helper in the story is Flounder the Fish, who accompanies Ariel throughout the film. There is a handsome prince named Eric who the Little Mermaid princess eventually marries, sought after throughout the narrative. Ariel’s father is King Triton, a very forceful and dominating personality who is very protective of his daughter. The dispatcher could to some extent be Ariel’s own desire to be human, as that sets her off on her quest to go ashore. I am very happy with the tale we picked, as it includes all eight character types, and roughly follows Propp’s 31 Functions of a Fairy-tale.

We tried to incorporate many of Propp’s 31 Functions into our board game when we made it. For example, Ariel is deceived by Ursula when she lands on a certain square, and must miss a go. The game is won when Ariel vanquishes Ursula and marries the prince. Of course not all of the 31 Functions were applicable to this film. The spheres most compatible with this story were spheres 1 and 4. Elements from both of these plotlines feature in the Little Mermaid.