Reading John Steinbeck’s “Flight” as a Folktale
Keywords:“Flight”, structuralism, short story, Torres, Mexican American, folktale
This paper analyses John Steinbeck’s “Flight,” a short story about the Torres, a Mexican American family, living on the periphery of Monterey in California and rarely going to town as it once happens to one of them, Pepé, who goes to buy supplies there. In addition to its one syllable word title and its twenty-six-page text, it is short like any short story in comparison with the novel which is another genre in spite of their common aspects. Its shortness clearly noticed does not end the debate on its form as it can also be compared with a folktale. The research question reads: to what extent can “Flight” be assimilated to a folktale? The aim is to show its characteristics of a Mexican American folktale. Concerning the approach, a reference is made to structuralism according to the theory on the form of the folktale developed by Vladimir Propp. In the end of this research, it is noticed that “Flight” is presented as a short story but it is formerly a folktale, a genre commonly linked to a given people identity, and Steinbeck uses it to express, to some extent, his compassion towards Mexican Americans marginalized within the Californian space.