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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Folktales (fictional stories, told orally) have been popular generally for various reasons, as have myths (orally told stories about creation and the gods). They offer models for human behavior and in particular give the message that people must use their wits to trick others when necessary. Folktales can be analyzed from this viewpoint, although they can also be interpreted using psychoanalyis and other methods (much of the scholarship on them has been concerned with collecting and “typing” them) to determine what they mean. In the United States, several kinds have been popular, including tall and other humorous, hero, John and Old Marster, animal, and fairy tales. There have been well-known tellers of such stories, though they have not received their due, because they have chosen to be performers of existing tales rather than creators of new ones, although they may have created new ways of narrating.

Keywords: African Americans, animals, classification, cultural values, folktale, hero, humor, Jack tale, tall tale, Native Americans

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