Stakeholders: A look at that straw-using, flute-tooting, wolf denier


Last week, I wrote about using The Three Pigs and the importance of creating operational definitions. Operational definitions state, in clear terms, what we mean by our use of certain concepts. They are how we create tangible, measurable variables out of abstract ideas, and are the springboard for our narrative and/or research. In this example, my abstract idea was "The Three Pigs." My workable, operational definition, however, evolved into, "Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony Three Little Pigs (1933, English)." It is this version that I'll base my arguments on, and this version's symbols, ideologies, and stakeholders that I will adopt for my analysis.

Based on my operational definition and what I'm interested in examining, I am going to determine what I know about the story's stakeholders. Stakeholders, in this instance, are the characters. In other situations, though, "stakeholders" can refer to a much broader public. They are the people or organizations influenced or affected by an action or situation. They can be people within a decision-making body, but also people outside that body, for whom the decision will have ramifications.

The key thing in this stage of research or narrative planning is that the stakeholders I map out can only be from within my operational definition. In other words, based only on what I see in this film. For example, the pigs had no names in this film. So when I write down what I know about these stakeholders, I'll call them "Pig 1," "Pig 2," and "Pig 3." I'll do this even though my most salient, beloved memories of this story hail from a 1971 Peter Pan Records 45 rpm and read-along-book, in which the pigs were named Spotty, Curlytail, and Tiny. But that 1971 version is not my operational definition. Their names and associated characteristics do not belong in this analysis. What do belong are the characteristics I can observe in this version,"Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony Three Little Pigs (1933, English)." Based on this version, here is what I observe about Pig 1:

  • Isn't clear if this pig is related to other pigs

  • Androgynous

  • High-pitched voice

  • Unspecific age

  • Wears sailor hat, black vest with yellow bow

  • Plays the flute and doesn't "give a hoot;" plays "around all day"

  • Builds house of straw

  • Along with Pig 2, ridicules Pig 3 for "taking no time to play" and for believing wolf is threat

  • Meets wolf

  • With Pig 2 during encounter

  • Runs home alone

  • Does not let wolf into house

  • Wolf blows in house, though house is not entirely destroyed

  • Runs to Pig 2's house after wolf blows in house

  • Not fooled by wolf's subterfuge

  • With Pig 2, runs to Pig 3's house after wolf blows in Pig 2's house

  • Almost caught, but escapes (i.e., Wolf grabs his tail)

  • Mouth gapes open when Pig 3 says "I told you so"

  • Hides under Pig 3's bed while Pig 3 defends house from wolf

  • Vacillates between paralyzing panic when wolf is present, then belittles wolf during times of perceived safety, even at story's end.

These are the observations, traits and incidents that can be cited back to specific points of the film. My arguments about Pig 1 would be based on such observations. If I wanted to make larger, ideological arguments about Pig 1's interactions with others and their meanings, for example, I would cite instances from this film as justification for my argument. In other words, they'd be my supporting evidence. And it is this supporting evidence that makes an informed, clear argument, in our news stories and otherwise.


This project continues in Part III: Bringing the “Three Little Pigs” CYOA to life.