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Elements of Folktales

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Leslie Newton

on 26 April 2015

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Transcript of Elements of Folktales

Elements of Folktales
The Rule of Three
In folktales, the number 3 occurs many times. Such as,

3 characters
3 days/nights
3 events
3 problems to solve

One song repeated 3 times
Character Setting Plot
Compassion, Generosity, Humility




Tall Tales
Folktales are, most importantly, spoken. In culture, folktales are known as "oral traditions."

Folktales are meant to explain wonders of the world.

Folktales are meant to teach a moral lesson.
Types of Folktales
The main character is a clever trickster that usually makes problems for the other characters. This main character usually goes unpunished.
There is always some lesson to be learned, but the lesson is not written. The reader must understand the lesson. The characters are usually animals with human qualities.
The story is to explain why something in nature is the way it is OR how something in nature happens
Characters are usually only good or evil with an obvious hero. Characters can do magic. Story begins with "Once upon a time." Hero usually wins by kindness, honesty, or courage.
Flat, simple, easy to identify
Heroes are often isolated
Removed from the "real world"
Described in vague, unclear terms
"Once upon a time..."
"Long ago, in a dark forest..."
Short and simple
Formula: journey, quick and unexplained conflict, happy ending
A folktale theme tends to a "rite or passage" or a character growing up, becoming independent, learning about sacrifice, etc.

"Wisdom comes through suffering."
Characters, setting, and plot are exaggerated and impossible, but usually include real places and real people.
The Ant and the Grasshopper
What kind of folktale is this?
What is the problem?
What is the resolution?
What is the lesson?
Aesop and his Fables
Aesop's writings are dated 620-464 B.C.
Most traditional fables are said to be written by Aesop:
have a lesson, plants and animals have human characteristics, and--if there is a human--they have little human-to-human contact.
Tall Tales
These ARE specific to a place

These EXAGGERATE or HIGHLIGHT a cultural worldview
STILL for children
STILL simple characters
STILL spoken stories
STILL shows us a lot about culture
STILL an element of magic/unreality
with a little
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