Annotated Bibliography: Kill Bill as Parable

Annotated Bibliography

Bronner, Simon.  American Folkore Studies: An Intellectual History.  Kansas: University
     Press of Kansas, 1986.
The final chapter is called “Folklore in an Era of Communication.”  Bronner discusses
the ways in which our current technology affects which folktales survive and how these
have changed.  His focus is on how the approaches to scholarship of folklore changed,
which is useful to me because I gain scope in terms of how stories have been interpreted.
  This will provide context for the Marxist reading in which stories reflect the dominant
ideas of the ruling class.  This chapter will also be particularly useful in that it is
taking the institutions that result from capitalism (progress in communication) and looking
 at how this institution affects our storytelling.  This is relevant to my attempt to study
 a cinematic story.

Ellwood, Robert.  “A Japanese Mythic Trickster Figure: Susa-no-o.”  Mythical Trickster
     Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms.  Eds. William Hynes and William
     Doty.  Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1997.  141-158.
Ellwood discusses the two chracterizations of the Japanese trickster figure, Susa-no-o. 
On the one hand, the character is a disruptive outsider, but on the other hand, he is
“a benefactor of humankind” and as such represents a “fertility figure, slayer of monsters,
thief of light…the archaic sacred king” (142).  The tension between these two is the basis
of the essay, which is relevant to Beatrix Kiddo’s character in Kill Bill.  She is painted
as an outsider, and her trickster status is open for discussion, but she is certainly a
“fertility figure” and a “slayer of monsters.”

Greverus, Ina-Maria.  “Clothing: Necessity, Prinzip Hoffnung, or Trojan Horse?”
     Folklore on Two Continents.  Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
      Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980.  250-259.
Greverus discusses the implications of clothing, originally placing clothes as the
 indicator of Adam and Eve’s “Fall.”  She notes that fashion is seen as an aspect of
 capitalist society, and that the implications of clothing go beyond the needs they
 meet and instead acts as a symbol.  This can be a subversive symbol or one of status.
 In Kill Bill, over-the-top costumes (such as the heroine’s yellow jumpsuit) play an
important role in the aesthetic of the film, and this essay will be useful in considering
 the possible readings of this costume.

Hyde, Lewis.  Trickster Makes This World.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Hyde analyzes the many uses of the “trickster” figure in mythology and folklore. 
He considers how the stories told highlight certain essential qualities of this figure,
namely, its ability to exist outside of the normal society, to confound polarity, to “lie,”
to overcome appetite, and to “poach” the habits of other creatures.  This text is useful as
a model of analysis in terms of uncovering how a story reflects what is important to a culture
and a people.  The trickster figure is also present in certain ways in the characters in Kill
Bill, many of whom are existing on the periphery of the dominant culture and surviving by
their wits.

Krappe, Alexander.  The Science of Folklore.  New York: Norton & Co., 1930, 1964.
Krappe considers folklore as an attempt “to reconstruct a spiritual history of Man,
not as exemplified by the outstanding work of poets and thinkers, but as represented by
 the more or less inarticulate voices of the ‘folk’” (xv).  This work includes a chapter
on each of various types of stories: the fairy tale, merry tale, animal tale, local legend,
 migratory legend, prose sage, proverb, folk-song, popular ballad, charms/rhymes/riddles,
superstition, plant lore, animal lore, custom/ritual, magic, and folk-lore/myth/religion. 
Problematic in this text is the assumption of a Darwinian (or at least very hierarchical)
development of societies.  Also considers that “in the city proper…the typical proletarian
is the most traditionless creature imaginable” (xviii).

Kvideland, Reimund.  “Stories about Death as a Part of Children’s Socialization.”
     Folklore on Two Continents.  Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
      Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980.  59-65.
Kvideland’s essay discusses the ways children see death: before age five, it is a
separation, from age five to age nine it is personified, and after age ten it is definite
 and unavoidable.  Next, the essay addresses how death is manifested in various children’s
stories, and how these presentations affect the way a child might interpret death.  This issue
 is relevant both internally to the Kill Bill story—there are various children characters who
experience death of a loved one or cause death of another creature—and also to the film as a
story itself, which children and young people will consume.

Luthi, Max.  “Imitation and Anticipation in Folktales.”  Folklore on Two Continents.
      Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.  Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980.
      3-13.
Luthi discusses the use of imitation and anticipation: the repetition of similar events,
 the generally unsuccessful imitation of other characters which generally ends in disaster.
  He discusses these devices in their effect on the teller and the listener and also their
 implications for how life is lived and how children develop.  This is relevant to Kill Bill
 because of the recurring theme of learning from and imitating the various “master” characters.

Ozaki, Yukio.  Warriors of Old Japan and Other Stories.  Boston and New York:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909.    
A retelling of various Japanese folktales.  I will analyze these since part of Kill Bill takes
place in Japan, and I suspect that many of the characters are influenced by Japanese figures.

Snyder, Blake.  Save the Cat: the Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.  Studio
     City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 2005.
Snyder considers cinematic stories as falling into certain categories, including the
“golden fleece” story in which a character is in search of something, and the “dude with
 a problem” story in which a character must solve something.  The relationship between these
“genres” (really story-types rather than genres in the traditional sense) bear an interesting
relationship to types of parables and folktales, and this theory of cinema can act as a bridge
between Kill Bill and folklore theory.

Stone, Kay.  “Fairy Tales for Adults: Walt Disney’s Americanization of the Marchen.”
     Folklore on Two Continents.  Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
      Bloomington: Trickster Press, 1980.  40-47.
Stone emphasizes the fact that though Disney cartoons are considered to be for children, in
fact, they are designed to appeal to a wide audience.  Furthermore, the characters are
changed in fairly drastic ways from the original tales (for example, Snow White is a teenager
 rather than a 7-year-old, and she is not afraid of the dwarves (42)).

Virtanen, Leea.  “Contemporary Responses to Legends and Memorates.” Folklore on
     Two Continents.  Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.  Bloomington, IN:
     Trickster Press, 1980.  65-70.
Virtanen examines how people respond to stories about supernatural or fantastical events.
 Her conclusions are that there are a particular set of psychological responses, ranging from
 a trivialization in the form of an explanation, to a recognition of possible credibility,
which was found to depend on the person’s experience with the phenomenon in question.  This
essay can shed light on how audiences interpret and classify the supernatural aspects of Kill Bill.

von Franz, Marie-Louise.  The Interpretation of Fairy Tales.  Revised Edition.  Boston:
     Shambhala Publications, 1970, 1996.
von Franz analyzes fairy tales within a Jungian framework, basing her readings off of the
assumption that the characters represent archetypes rather than normal human egos.  von Franz
believes that all fairy tales “endeavor to describe one…psychic fact…what Jung calls the Self,
which is the psychic totality of an individual and also, paradoxically, the regulating center of
the collective unconscious” (7).  She takes fairy tales as indicators of the psyche.  Furthermore,
 the assumption of archetypical characters is an expression of the idea that humans are born with
 certain qualities.  Her method consists of examining the time/place, characters, problem, and
conclusion of the stories (39-40).

von Franz, Marie-Louise.  The Feminine in Fairy Tales.  Revised Eddition.  Boston:
     Shambhala Publications, 1972, 1993Discusses the ways in which women are presented in fairy
tales.  Fairy tales are taken as stories about ordinary people (as opposed to myths, which are
about gods).  She discusses “the anima—that is, man’s femininity,” which is relevant given that
 the heroine of Kill Bill was created by Tarantino, a male.  Fairy tales are generally both about
 the anima and the real woman, depending on the telling.

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