Let Me Tell You a Story: Digital Narratives as Oral Narratives
Myths, folktales, fairy tales— these are the prototypes of all narrative, the ancestors and the models of later fictional developments… modern times forms have developed which elaborate and transform the basic constituents of primitive fiction almost beyond recognition, but … modern fictional forms have never lost touch with the primitive entirely and have frequently returned to their sources to draw upon the almost magical power they possess.
Media interpretations of fairy tales have seen a revival the past few years with movies such as Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Jack the Giant Killer as well as with the popular television shows Once Upon Time, and Grimm. This trend looks to continue with the upcoming releases of Frozen, Disney's take on The Snow Queen (due November 27, 2013), Maleficent, a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale from the evil queen’s perspective (due out July 2, 2014) Disney’s live-action version of Cinderella (expected 2014) and the Once Upon a Time spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
Past fairy tale scholarship has focused on the “literary appropriation” of these tales (Bacchilega 3), how the narratives of these tales functions, analysis of retellings of the tales, as well as viewing these tales through various literary lenses. Warner examines the representation of women in the tales, Rankin examines how the characters and tropes of these tales have been forwarded into modern horror movies, and Zipes focuses on the changing social nature of these tales. As revisions and retellings present themselves on screen, either on television, or in the movies, scholarship tends to focus on the latest revision of the tale. However, one gap that exists is an examination of how the digital narratives created by studio sponsored web pages and social media, together with the narratives of these television shows and movies function and what the implications are of the relationship between digital narrative and source narrative.A search of recent scholarship about digital narratives will yield results for digital storytelling in the classroom, the digital narratives of video games, and hypertexts but no mention of the relationship between narratives of television shows and the digital narratives produced by their webpages and social media profiles. While there is scholarship in fan studies that examines how online fan interactions function, differ from face to face interactions, and create communities, there is currently no scholarship that examines these communities while considering the oral narrative roots of the source material. Or that analyze the digital narrative in tandem with the source narrative.
To this end:
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