An Introduction!

April 15, 2008

To blog or not to blog…

A question folklorists may often ask is “how are myths and folktales changing?”. Part of the answer to that question is that they are becoming interactive on a whole new level. Storytellers of the past, when myth was primarily shared by oral tradition, engaged their audiences through participation. They could see their audience and change their tone, answer questions or chuckle at reactions and interruptions. They could be reminded when they missed a step in the plot, or forgot to mention a character. Those interactions are lost in text and books lack the capacity for readily available means of providing feedback. Alas, now there is the blog! Aside from storytelling in chat rooms, the blog is the closest that technology may get to two-way interactive story sharing.

This site is set up so that you can read a little or a lot and still come away with something. You can start anywhere and go as you please. Technology allows us to learn, gain information and have fun through unrestricted exploration. I want this to be an example of how myth interacts with technology and how it is not just something found in books or told to us by our elders. I chose to do a blog because it is a way to showcase how myths are created by people. If myth is anything it is deeply personal and the best way to take advantage of that would be to examine it outside the confines of an academic paper.

Finally, as mentioned before, the beauty of the internet is that it allows you to take something and give something in return. I invite anyone to share their ideas or opinions and post pictures or links based on the topics discussed! Enjoy!

Read more about this project.

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Part of studying folktales is finding patterns. Here’s a quick note on some of the trends I’ve noticed in the tales and their versions:

As you read (or watch) the tales, starting with the Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts and working your way down, you’ll notice that the focus begins to change from the hazards of overreaction and irrational fear to a focus on the rationalization of fear as a means of preparedness, especially in the recent Disney version. In the modern picturebook versions by Kellogg, and Scieska & Smith– the sky actually does fall, or the narrator says that Chicken Little was “half right”. Or in the case of the hen that flies to Dovrefjell, the reader is led to believe that the world has been saved because Henny Penny arrived safely, implying that her prophetic dream and stir of mass hysteria was legitimate (nevermind that two innocent birds perished).

Some Quick Points of Interest…

Summary

April 11, 2008

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed exploring this site and had the opportunity to experience the tales and watch how they have been portrayed in media. You’ll see how these tales have reflected our history, shaped our culture and shape it still.

Proof that myth and folklore are alive and vibrant today can be found in the many books, comics and media allusions to Chicken Little and Henny Penny. The next time you hear the phrase, “the sky is falling!” (or receive an email chain letter) it will take on a whole new meaning. And in my mind, that’s what myth is all about.

So, which tale or version is your favorite? Tell me what you think!