Sample History Book Review Paper on Folktales


Question 1

According to Darnton, folktales are important as historical text because they reflect the current life of people. It means that several people reading the folktales today may see them strange that the characters in the story wished for particular things such as basic things like labor, food and shelter (Marius 112). These are things which people consider common today, but they were important for survival during the eighteenth century. The folktales inscribed meaning in the contemporaries in the survival of the world vision.

Question 2

According to Darnton, it is more difficult to understand people’s mental culture than say their political or economic system. This is because, the mental culture does not depict collective behavior and they vary with time, group and space making it hard to comprehend the true element of a particular culture (Darnton 64). Some other ways that Darnton mentions that can be used to examine the “mental world” or “mentality” of the people in the past includes magical imagination which involves having a deeper look into things. This can either be supernatural beliefs or use of magic to predict different events (Collins 110).

Question 3

The peasants used folktales to reveal different incidents of change. They also used it to interpret various puzzling events that could have resulted in greater illumination. For instance, they could interpret the hazards of life, the omnipresent hunger and the burden related to children within the poor households.  The peasants also used folktales to uncover the mentality based and agency features on different worldview comparing it to the modern view (Darnton 92).

Question 4

The folktales were not revolutionary because people believed that they were things that took place in the past. They also played an important role in depicting the social context of various periods that acted as a framework for literature and various messages regarding the past (Rubin 102).

Works Cited

Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print.

Darnton, Robert. Peasants Tell Tales. New York: Springer, 2002. Print.

Marius, Richard. Thinking about History: A Short Guide to writing about History. New York: Pearson, 2011. Print.

Rubin, Miri. What is Cultural History Now. New York: Springer, 2002.Print.