Traditional Literature
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Traditional Literature

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ELE 620 Cambridge College

ELE 620 Cambridge College

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Traditional Literature Traditional Literature Presentation Transcript

  • TRADITIONAL LITERATURE “ Once Upon A Time, in a Land Far Away…” ELE 620 Children’s Literature Cambridge College
  • BACKGROUND
    • Definition: “Stories born of the oral tradition”
    • Origins:
      • Stories handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth
      • They come from any country, any culture
      • Similarities can be found in tales from one country to another
    • No identifiable author
    • Recognizable literary patterns in all types
  • CATEGORIES
    • Folktales
    • Fables
    • Myths
    • Epics and Legends
  • FOLKTALES
    • Types of folktales:
      • Cumulative tales
      • Pourquoi tales
      • Beast tales
      • Wonder tales
      • Realistic tales
  • CUMULATIVE TALES
    • Increased repetition of details building to a quick climax
    • Can be found in all cultures
    • Examples:
      • Gingerbread Boy, Henny Penny, Old Woman and Her Pig
  • POURQUOI TALES
    • “Why” stories that explain certain animal traits or characteristics or human customs
    • Found in many African and Native American cultures
    • Example:
      • “How the Animals Got Their Tales”
      • “How Chipmunk Got His Stripes”
  • BEAST TALES
    • Animals act and talk like humans
    • Often appear as “tricksters” – weak outsmarts strong
    • Common animal characters:
      • Fish (Scandanavian, English, German)
      • Bears, Wolves (Russian)
      • Spiders, Rabbits, Monkeys, Tortoises, Crocodiles, Lions (African)
      • Rabbits, Badgers, Monkeys, Bees (Japanese)
  • WONDER TALES
    • Also called “Fairy Tales”
    • Contain magic and supernatural
    • Usually have fairies, or other magical characters such as witches, ogres, trolls, demons
    • Often contain a quest, romance and adventure
    • “ Once Upon a Time,” “Happily Ever After”
    • Truth, love, kindness will prevail
    • Wickedness, hate, evil will be punished
  • REALISTIC TALES
    • Stories that involve no magic
    • Could really have happened, some actually may have happened
    • Begins with a real person but is embellished from many retellings
    • Examples:
      • Zlateh the Goat
      • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
  • TALL TALES
    • Most common in American folklore
    • Superlatives – biggest, highest, strongest…
    • Mixture of humor, bravado, and pioneer spirit
    • Examples: Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Johnny Appleseed
  • FOLK TALE CHARACTERISTICS
    • What are the common characteristics in all folktales?
    • Plot Structure
    • Characterization
    • Style
    • Themes
    • Motifs
  • PLOT STRUCTURE
    • Short, simple, fast moving
    • Humorous, happy endings
    • Good rewarded, evil punished
    • Wishes come true, but a task must be accomplished
    • Youngest child usually succeeds, oldest defeated
    • Repetition, responses and chants
    • Number 3 is significant
    • Quick establishment of time and place, although indefinite
  • CHARACTERIZATION
    • Flat dimensions (completely good or completely evil)
    • Examples:
      • Beautiful girl who is virtuous, humble, patient
      • Stepmothers who are ugly, cross, mean
      • Poor are long-suffering, kind, generous
      • Rich are hardhearted, conniving and dishonest
  • STYLE
    • Offer opportunities for children to hear rich qualitative language and language patterns
    • Should maintain the “flavor” of the culture but still understood by a wide audience
    • Figurative language but not much description
    • Often imitate sounds of the story
    • Written as though a storyteller is speaking directly to the reader
    • Maintains atmosphere of the culture of origin
  • THEMES
    • Tells an entertaining story, while presenting important ideas
    • Values of culture expressed such as humility, kindness, patience, sympathy, hard work, and courage
    • Usually portray harsh acts / some violence
    • Goals are not accomplished easily
  • MOTIFS
    • Patterns which appear frequently in folktales
    • Folklorists number and label the motifs
    • “ The smallest part of a tale that can exist independently”
    • Examples: youngest brother, clever trickster, fairy godmother, evil witch, terrifying giant, marvelous transformations, long sleep, 3 tasks, etc.
    • Simple tales have several motifs, complex tales have many.
    • Helps children to see patterns, compare and contrast across cultures
  • FABLES
    • Usually associated with Aesop, a Greek slave born about 600 B.C.
    • Brief tales that teach a lesson
    • Mostly animal characters speaking as humans
    • Examples: Lion and the Mouse, Tortoise and Hare, Crow and the Fox
    • Characters are unnamed, impersonal
    • Personalities not as lively as in trickster tales
    • Represent aspects of human nature
    • Plots based on single incident
    • Quality based upon language and illustrations
  • MYTHS
    • Evolved as primitive people sought to explain earth, sky, and human behavior
    • Deal with human relationships with the gods, gods relationships with each other and human struggle with good and evil
    • Contain action, suspense, and conflict
    • Types of myths: Creation myths, Nature myths, Hero myths
  • EPICS AND LEGENDS
    • A long narrative clustering around a single hero
    • A story form that grew out of myths with gods intervening in some stories but mostly involve human heroes
    • Heroes embodying all ideal characteristics of the time, highest morals of society
      • Robin Hood (justice and freedom)
      • King Arthur (chivalry)
    • Knowledge of epics gives children understanding of different cultures, and models of greatness through the ages
  • ALL AROUND THE WORLD
    • Every culture has produced folklore. The study of these tales can provide insights into the beliefs of these people, their values, their jokes, their lifestyles, histories.
    • A cross-cultural study of folktales can provide children with an opportunity to discover the universal qualities of humankind.