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Comparing and Analyzing Two Stories from Iran and China (Khotan)

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For the analysis in this essay, I have chosen the tale of Siavash and Sudabeh from the Book of Kings (Shahnameh) in Persian literature and Kunāla-avadâna from Chinese (Khotanese) literature. These stories have full structural and narrative pattern despite their apparent simplicity and they can be studied and evaluated as narratological theories. The pattern of Todorov shows that these stories have accurate narrative logic; of course, narrative similarity of two stories may originate from common collective unconscious mind of these tribes. Anyway, these stories have common main and sub propositions with titles of love, conspiracy, refusal, trial for finding truth, loyalty of the prince to father etc. In addition to common propositions, actions of violation, change and punishment which are emphasized by Todorov are found in these stories. The variable action dominates but main core of actions is disloyalty of woman to her husband and falling in love with the prince finally leading to her punishment. These two stories were analyzed according to the Todorov’s narrative analysis model. In both stories, you can find the same major and minor premise and proposition. That is, all events occur around the three characters (King, a boy and a woman who are related to the court), in both stories the woman loves the boy, but the boy remained loyal to the king, and rejects her love. The boy is accused with treason and finally the truth becomes evident. Propositions of these stories include: proper noun (characters), verb (actions) and adjective (features and characteristics of persons), which are common in both stories and are repeated identically in both stories. Also according to Todorov’s view, the five modes in propositions (declarative mode, optative mode, subjunctive mode, conditional mode, predictive mode) have been investigated in these two stories. This will put more emphasis on the similarity of narrative structure of stories.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Persian Language and Literature, University of Qom,


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