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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Legends, anecdotes, and personal narratives express important dimensions of human experience and values. At times of difficulty, uncertainty, and threat, these narratives help people express worries and seek answers to disturbing questions. Related to rituals, games, and pranks, legends frequently appear on the Internet. The concept of ostension—enactment of legends—sheds light on legends’ relationship to ritual, especially in the context of the legend quest. Legends about gender, empowerment of women, suspicion of corporations’ nefarious activities, and natural and political disaster reflect society’s contemporary concerns. Folklorists benefit from further study of diverse ethnic groups’ legends and personal experience stories in American culture. With new forms of ostension emerging through use of the Internet and other technology, it is important to monitor and analyze expressive behavior online.

Keywords: anecdote, adolescence, fabulate, fake news, folklore, Internet, legend, ostension, personal narrative, pranks

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