Differentiating Folk Tradition

Differentiating Folk Tradition
Mr. Irwin, Ninth Grade English
Name: _________________________
Period: I II III V
Traditional literature is a combination of four distinct, yet intertwined genres of children's literature. They
plausible or implausible adventures wrapped in the forms of human or animal abilities.
simple in nature and composition; always gives in to the notion of what is “fair”
clear distinction between good and evil people/things
good source for teaching lessons in appropriate thought and behavior
tend to have messages that transcend culture (ex. Little Red Ridding Hood from France, Lon Po
Po from China, and Little Red Cap from Germany are all the same story, just repackaged)
examples: Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs
 ancient stories dealing with gods and great feats of bravery
 found in every culture; tends to give meaning to the unexplainable
 repetitive patterns across cultural lines (ex. creation myths – Unkulunkulu of the Zulu came from
the river reeds and created people and cows, the birth of Gaea and Tartarus from Chaos for the
Greeks, etc.)
 provide human emotions and qualities to super-natural beings
 heavy reliance on symbols and allegories
 Examples: the Titans, Demeter and Persephone, Icarus and Daedalus, Odin the Wanderer
 deal with real people and, perhaps, real situations but are embellished (unlike myths and folktales)
 meant to help people visualize transcendence of social position or to cause distraction from present
 teach precepts that encourage moral conduct and right living
 very narrative in their nature
 examples: Pecos Bill, Robin Hood
short stories used to convey simple truths not often seen in everyday life
tend to have animals are characters
no transformation occurs within the characters; they simply learn lessons and move on
end with a clearly state moral (ex. “Pride is a prologue to shame,” The Bald Knight)
examples: The Fox and the Grapes, the Donkey and the Charger, The Little Engine that Could
Source: “Folktale, Myth, Legend and Fable” by Charity Belle Mays, James Madison University
Accessed on 30 September 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at <http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/