To see fairytale broken down into something so concrete as a bibliography of their forms seems unnatural and pointless in my eyes. I have always considered fairytales to have some sort of formula as far as structure is concerned, but to have Aarne and Thompson designate these tales and its variant forms draws my attention to the continuity in folklore in a systematic, and literary manner.
What worries me about learning “structures” of classification for folk tales is that, as Propp puts it, the beauty of folklore is conveyed through its continuity; these tales are living organisms: they circulate, they change, they are relevant and they remain current. Through this description Popp implies that Aarne’s numerical definition of fairytales is “superficial”.
This raises a debate between preserving the fluid nature of the changing folk tale and preserving the folk tale in a literary sense. (the latter essentially freezes the tale in time thus preventing it from encountering the influences that encourage its reshaping through time.)
To make the debate between Aarne and Propp’s discourse worse it Propp’s belief that “identical acts in folk lore can have different meaning, and vice versa.” His view serves to undermine Aarne and Thompson’s classification system for relying motifs for classification because it neglects to completely account regard to the modes of these functions.
Propp inquires how many functions are known to the tale and toils with the possibility that the number of functions is extremely small because the number of personages is very large. His classification of tale by the actions in the stories is more logical than Aarnes motif-based classification.
Perhaps it is because Propp uses discourse to convey his opinions that he was able to provide a perspective that I find to be more convincing. Nevertheless, with Aarne we only see the fruits of his work without very much information regarding what his primary justifications for classification were based on. Having a better understanding of Propp’s justification for classification, having a greater familiarity with his work predisposes me to support his simpler approach to classifying folk lore.
Aarne’s system seems to contradict the organic characteristics of the living folk tale. The living, changing, relevant aspects of folk lore are aspects that I believe to be essential components to its phenomenon.