Presentation on theme: "Once Upon a Time… Traditional Literature Characteristics and Markers of Quality."— Presentation transcript:
Once Upon a Time… Traditional Literature Characteristics and Markers of Quality
Quiet your faces; be crossed every thumb; Fix on me deep your eyes… And out of my mind a story shall come— Old, and lovely, and wise. --Walter de la Mare LISTEN!
TRADITIONAL LITERATURE… Is a body of ancient stories & poems preserved & passed down by storytellers Is attributed to entire groups of people or cultures –No identifiable author Includes many types of stories –Most are fantasy, but some are realistic Has common characteristics of the literary elements (plot, characters, setting, writing style, themes..) Functioned to pass cultural values on through generations
Plot In traditional tales, story… –Is shorter than in other genres –Quickly introduces conflict –Often has recurring actions –Has a quick resolution & ending Storyteller used this element to hold attention of audience
Characterization Less developed than in any other genre Uni-dimensional –Good characters: completely good –Bad characters: completely evil Consider: What actions are rewarded? What actions are punished? –This aspect of characterization can point to theme –Themes reflect values of culture in which story originated
Setting (Time & Place) Vague (In the beginning…) (Long ago in a land far away…) –May be “formulaic” (Once upon…) –Time: The far distant past –Place: Often symbolic; careful description not needed As you read, consider –In picture storybooks, how is setting portrayed in illustrations? Who makes that decision? –Is there anything in the setting that is symbolic? Does it reflect the tension in the plot? Does it symbolize the theme?
Theme What is “theme”? A universal truth or lesson to be learned –Reflects values of culture in time of story’s origin –Often involves moral issues Consider –What character qualities and behaviors are rewarded…punished? –How do plot, characterization, and setting contribute to the theme?
Style of Language Remember: Stories all began as oral tales –Memory of storyteller is limited –Capacity of audience to remember is limited Simple--Only necessary description Realistic conversation Often enriched with repeating refrains Some use dialect of time/place Motifs—recurring features such as the number 3
CHOOSING/EVALUATING TRADITIONAL LITERATURE Does it preserve the storytelling style ? Does it preserve the flavor of the culture or country of its origin? –Use of colloquialisms, unusual speech patterns, proper names common to the culture, a few foreign terms Do illustrations (if present) fit well with the tone of the text and portray the essence of the culture of origin? Are they well done? Does the writing exemplify a rich literary style?
Folktales A Sub-Category of Traditional Literature –Found in every culture –Originated in lives/imaginations of the people or “folk” –Children’s favorite type of traditional lit (from age of 3 on) Vary in content based on original intended audience –King’s court and Nobility-tales of valor, heroism, benevolence of ruling class (called castle tales) –Common people-ruling classes are portrayed as unjust or hard taskmasters (called cottage tales) Riches were considered “fair game” for common folk who were clever or strong enough to acquire them Folktales: