Traditional Literature


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Traditional Literature

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