Reflective essay: evaluating folklore, myth, and legend, and fairy tale vocabulary

Create a reflective essay (four pages) synthesizing and evaluating folklore, myth, and legend, and fairy tale vocabulary, critical terminology from Keywords for Children’s Literature and a personal story, legend, and myth.


Stories of different genre are a common thing in almost all culture. These stories may not be of a great value to us when we become adults but we cannot deny their effects that they had when we were children and these stories were told to us by our parents and grandparents. Even we enjoyed these stories when we have had a chance to see them on television screens or listen to them in audio format. Fairy tales have been an important part of children literature over the history (Tatar). Myths, legends, folklore and fairy tales are passed from generation to generation. They have an important role in shaping the cultures of different people throughout the world. Especially the people living in indigenous cultures which have not yet been highly influenced by the technological advances and its forms of entertainment still use them as a form of entertainment and their language vocabulary can be noticed to have been influenced by it.

In this paper, I would like to synthesize and evaluate myths, folklores, legends and fairy tale vocabulary by relating them to Hansel and Gretel and Anansi and the Pot of Beans stories. Relating them to these stories would provide me a foundation to effectively demonstrate of the literary elements under discussion.


Folklore, myths and science, all have their foundations in human observation of the environment over the history (Yeomans). Folklore is an expression of the cultural experiences. Folklore are in the form of traditions, believes that become the norms of a specific group of people. Folklore provides a way of expression of the wishes and likes of the people which they may not be able to express in their ordinary ways and in the usual communication. Folklore consists of different types of oral and objectified literature of cultures. For example Jokes, tales and proverbs are different Folklore which are important in different cultures. In the same way, people may use objectified literary heroes that have been a part of the folklore.

Folklores are free of time in respect to their happening. For example in many stories and fairy tales common in different cultures use “once upon a time” phrase. This phrase provides the flexibility of avoiding the question of when did it happen. It is a generalized statement that the tale that is told happened and the time of its happening is not signified, instead the meaning of the tales should be focused.  The Annotated Hansel and Gretel also utilizes this phrase at its start. The same way it has utilized the phrase “happily lived after”. Over the time, humans want to have at least a happy ending irrespective of the hardships they suffered in their life spam. Always ending up happy may unfortunately be not possible in the real life, but what we can do is make most of our fairy tales and other stories end on a happy node to get at least some king of happiness. We all want the villains to lose in our lives. These villains could be just anyone. But this may not be possible in personal or professional life. But what we have done is defeat the villains in stories fairy tales. Just like Hansel and Gretel are successfully defeat the villains in the story.

In the story, Anansi and the Pot of Beans, an interesting version of folklore has been utilized by identifying laziness with a spider. The writer has used an African folklore character “Anansi”. This folklore has been utilized to depict the importance of hard work and responsibility that humans have longed for centuries.


In the human history, Greeks have used Mythology abundantly. Greeks used the concept of human gods and heroes to conceptualize the amount of strength they wished human had (Hard). There are many Greek myths which have supernatural beings like gods in actions and coming in contact with humans. This also provides a sense for humans to reach out to their creators and those who control their circumstances. Myths provided a foundation to the modern religions if I may say. When humans became curious about the creator of the universe, they started to think that it could be a human who did this but is a lot more powerful. Myths are not limited to the existence of the supernatural beings. Myths may also involve the existence of place and objects that humans may love to see or have. For example, we can see the concept of heaven in many myths. Heaven is a place which every human being want to end up in which is a pretty and comfortable place.

When I was reading the story “The annotated Hansel and Gretel”, I have had the feeling that mythology has been incorporated in the story. For example when a cottage in the forest is described, it has sugary windows, roof made of cake and walls made of bread. Myths usually consist of these kinds of places which can only be imagined and may not have a real existence. This story is for children. Now we can imagine what children like. They like sweets, which is depicted with windows made of sugar. Children also like cakes which is the roof of the cottage in the jungle. I think that the principles of myths have been effectively utilized to get the attention of children towards the story and keep them engaged.

The role of the spider in the story “Anansi and the Pot of Beans” is also a depiction of a mythical character. The spider has to end up in different situations which have a great lesson for children. One of the role of mythical characters is to promote harmony and equilibrium with either of their role, be it positive or negative. Anansi and the Pot Beans is a story in which the greed and hunger of the spider is the primary theme and which teaches its audience to keep away from these negative behaviors as they can make you end up in undesired situations.  The readers are advised with the story to know their responsibilities and do the right things.


Legends also have characters just like myths but these characters are not with supernatural powers. Instead they might be intelligent, brave, clever, cruel or with any other qualities in abundance. It is easy to point to the legendary role that Hansel and Gretel have played in the story, “Annotated Hansel and Gretel”. They are depicted to be intelligent and responsible children who are lost and have the courage and intellect to find their way back in the forest they are not much familiar with. The witch I the story plans to get hold of them and eat them but they are use intelligent tactics to save themselves from the witch and keep themselves safe and alive.


Both the stories are related to the development of the human culture and believes. These stories have a rich vocabulary in them. For example some of the words that have been repeatedly used in these stories are Doors, windows, stones, bed, witch, magic cakes and so on. We should let children read stories so that they can learn literary and ordinary words which they can use to make their communication effective and efficient.


I would like to conclude my discussion by stressing on the literary and historical importance of fairy tales, legends, myths and folklore. They not only contribute to the literature and our culture historically but are also part of the contemporary literature and culture.

Works Cited

Hard, R. (2003). The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology: Based on HJ Rose’s Handbook    of Greek Mythology. Routledge.

Yeomans, Donald K. “Comets. A chronological history of observation, science, myth, and             folklore.” New York: Wiley, 1991 (1991).

Tatar, Maria. Off with their heads!: Fairy tales and the culture of childhood. Princeton        University Press, 1992.