Anthropology Sample Essay on Folktales


Man is a cultural being; his creativity has given birth to culture and traditions. These cultures and human traditions are passed from one generation to the next through various forms. One of these forms is folktales. Folktales are creative, inventive, imaginative stories told to communicate various themes touching on human life. Folktales communicate universal concepts because they transcend their culture of origin to communicate real human experiences.

Folktales are classified into various categories which include; (1) Animal tales or trickster; these tales use the imagery of animals to communicate their themes. (2) Wonder tales; these tales touch on supernatural and meditate on the problem of evil. (3) Cumulative tales; these tales are dialogue stories, which have many repetitions and require a skill storyteller to negotiate their tongue twisters. (4) Pourquoil tales; these tales are philosophical in nature and seek to answer the “Why” question. (5) Noodle head or droll tale; these tales expose folly committed by some people in the society. (6) Tall tales, these tales focuses on extraordinary people with special abilities.

Folktales are characterized by; (1) Simplicity, that is, they are simple and clear in nature. (2) Oral; they are communicated orally from one generation to the next. (3) Culturally constructed; this means they cannot be attributed to a single person and therefore no identity of

an author. (4) Moral teaching; every folktale narrated must contain a moral lesson implicit or explicit

Folktales serve certain ends such as transfer of knowledge, create appreciation of some human situation, inculcate values and form human conscience, prepare people to live efficiently and effectively in their environment, act as an expression of artistic and scientific ideas, give people identity, and act as a form of recreation.