Simon Arsa Manggala has a bachelor’s degree in English Letters and a master’s degree in English Language Studies, from Universitas Sanata Dharma, Indonesia. He loves to read folktales and examine their linguistic styles. He is also interested in creative writing and the processes of story (re)production. He yearns to introduce Indonesian folktales to global readers.


Textual and Ideological Representation of Animals in Selected Indonesian Children’s Stories

Abstract: Folktales are told and handed down from generation to generation to deliver moral values. They employ things and matters from the environment to get close to their readers, children. Anthropomorphic animals combined with supernatural powers often appear in folktales to add to the wonder of the tale. Therefore, animals play certain roles in folktales. This paper aims to reveal how animals in folktales are represented ideologically and delivered textually in selected folktales from Indonesia. The folktales are titled “The Buffalo’s Victory,” “Kancil Steals Cucumbers,” “The Frogs,” and “The Caterpillar Story.” The paper uses thematic structure analysis and transitivity analysis from Systemic Functional Linguistics. Thematic structure analysis will show how the words or phrases related to animals are foregrounded in the folktales. Transitivity analysis reveals the ideological representations of the animals by the choice of verbs and processes of the clauses in which animals participate. The study shows that animal characters are important in folktales. However, it also shows that, whenever there are human characters, they are more thematized than animals in the clauses. In folktales, animals are imbued with human characteristics. This ideological representation might serve as a clue about how animals are perceived in society. The textual and ideological representation of animals might indicate that animals and humans are always interconnected. This research also suggests a critical perspective on how folktales are told.
Keywords: animals, ecocriticism, folktales, language, stylistics