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Essay How Have Folktales Evolved?

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A folktale is "a tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk". (Folktale). By that definition, written (literary) stories are not classifiable as folktales. I would that you do not presume a definition to be the final word in what makes a folktale; for it can be seen that most of all stories classified as folklore have one or more of several key characteristics. They prominently feature a strong moral value, or a recurring motif.

Folktales usually involve some key factors such as trickery, magic, monsters, or becoming rich. They also usually have some key characteristics such as beginning quickly, having uncomplicated characters, fast moving plots, and all questions answered by the end of the story. (Elements of Folktales).

Why is a folktale not a fairytale?

Folktales are very different from fairy tales in several ways. The primary difference between them is in their function. Fairy tales are a distraction from real life; a means of escape for the hopeless. Folk tales have real use and purpose behind their creation; they are meant to teach. Here is a quote explaining the differences:

Folk tales are the traditional beliefs, practices, lessons, legends, and tales of a culture or of a people passed down orally through stories. Fairy tales are fanciful and imaginary stories about people, faeries, animals, or things who have magical powers. Similarity: Every story has a problem and complication before the story is resolved. Difference: Folktales require that people use their brains to solve their problems while fairy tales require that people have magic to help them. (Fairy Tales).


What is the purpose of folktales?

Folktales are meant to teach a lesson to people of all ages...


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... Japanese Lullabies, Koto Music, Shakuhachi Music, Meditation Music, Healing,
Oyasumi. Web. 13 Jan. 2010. .

"Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 142 -- U.S. Crime Rate." WILLisms.com. 18 Aug. 2005. Web.
20 Jan. 2010. .

Schlosser, S. E. "Urban Legends from American Folklore." American Folklore: Famous
American folktales, tall tales, myths and legends, ghost stories, and more. American
Folklore. Web. 13 Jan. 2010. .

Solis, K. T. "What is a Folktale?" WiseGEEK: clear answers for common questions.
Wisegeek. Web. 13 Jan. 2010. .

Homer, and Robert Fagles. The Odyssey. New York: Penguin Classics, 1999. Print.


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