English 207: World Folktales and Literature, Spring 2006
Extra Assignments for Journals and Optional Readings

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Ferrum College

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World Folktales Course Home Page

The Jack Tale Players Performance, March 1, 7:30 p.m., Sale Theatre

Journal/Discussion Assignment:

Write your responses to the Jack Tale Players performance in your journal. What have you learned about dramatic methods of adapting folktales? Does the performance change your perception of any of the tales you have read? 

Read "The Script as Story Theatre" by Dr. Rex Stephenson. If you want to look at any other background, see the Jack Tale Players Web Site or related sections of AppLit, such as the article on the Jack Tale Players, Stephenson bibliography (with links to articles, etc.), Study Guides for Dramatizations by the Jack Tale Players.

See the course schedule, with assignments on Feb. 28 for details on where to find copies of the three tales that will be performed: "Jack and the Robbers," "Hardy Hard Head," and "Wicked John and the Devil."

If an unavoidable conflict prevents you from watching the performance, you should watch the Jack Tale Players video by March 1.  The library and Dr. Hanlon have copies.

Quest Tales: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Journal/Discussion Assignment for Thursday, Feb. 16:

You will be responsible for commenting on one chapter of the novel. You should submit your journal entry in class on Thursday and/or by e-mail before or immediately after we discuss the novel in class. There may not be time for everyone to participate in the in-class discussion, and the less you say in class, the more you should write in your journal/e-mail message. You do not have to answer all of these questions, but here are some thing to consider as you read the novel.

Your chapter assignments (by the number of each chapter):

  1. Bayford
  2. Chilton
  3. xxxx
  4. Dent
  5. Echols
  6. Fancher
  7. Franklin
  8. Guda
  9. Haskins
  10. Henz
  11. Kay
  12. Lauver
  13. Mackall
  14. Petty
  15. xxx
  16. xxx
  17. Porter
  18. Reming
  19. Scott
  20. Shearin
  21. xxx
  22. Trupe
  23. xxx

Journal/Discussion Assignment for Thursday, Jan. 19:

Select any folktale and read, view or listen to several variants of the same tale. Be prepared to report to the class orally on what you learned about folktale variants from your reading. AppLit's Annotated Index of Folktales lists many variants of individual Appalachian tales. Links to Online Texts leads to many tales on the internet from other traditions. The best sites to use for this exercise besides AppLit are D. L. Ashliman's groups of tales by tale types, such as The Name of the Helper (with "Rumpelstiltskin," etc.); or Sur La Lune Fairy Tales.

Read at least 3 variants of your tale before class on Thursday, preferably 4 or 5 variants by next week. Be sure you are reading variants of the same tale. There must be significant plot similarities, more than one or two similar motifs in the tales you read in order for this exercise to work for you. For example, AppLit has cross references between tales about "Jack and the Giant" and "Jack and the Beantree," and there are thousands of tales about ordinary people overcoming giants or witches, but if you want to use "Jack and the Beantree/Beanstalk" for this assignment, pick only tales that have a gigantic beanstalk with a giant living at the top, or something very much like that. Many anthologies group tales by subject or theme, such as Animal Tales, Fools and Numbskulls, Ghost Stories, Wise Women, etc., but that does not mean that the tales within those sections are all variants of the same tale.

For this class, you will be keeping a reading journal of informal writing about the the course readings and activities.

As you begin to write in your journal and think about what to say in class, consider any of the following questions:

  • What type of folktale are you reading? Do any of the other labels above fit any of your variants better?

  • How are the plots similar and different?

  • How are the characters similar and different?

  • How are other motifs similar or different? (e.g., giant beanstalks, three tests or trials or tasks, shoes that fit only one girl, getting magic help by giving aid to a seemingly poor person, magic tablecloths, three or seven or twelve siblings or fairies, guessing a secret name, turtle's smooth shell cracks, etc.)

  • Are your tales from different cultures? Can you detect cultural differences in their content?

  • Can you tell if your tales come from different times in history? Can you tell if that makes a difference?

  • Do your tales have obvious morals, either indicated explicitly or implied, or do they seem amoral (not intended to comment on morality)?

  • Are any of your variants satiric? Are they modern spinoffs or revisions that reflect modern values more than the traditional variants?

  • Are any of your variants illustrated? What do you think about how illustrations affect your reading or help interpret the tale?

You don't have to answer all these questions, and this is not a formal paper assignment, but you should have written something in your journal by next week about the tales you have read for this exercise. Be sure to identify the specific tales you read and their sources.

"Many Monsters to Destroy" Interesting web page on "The Loathly Lady Theme"  http://www.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian_legend/quests/monsters/awandw.html

The following has not been updated for 2006.


Animal Tales

Optional Ideas for Animal Tales

Go back to Schedule page for required assignments.

If you are interested in this development of the animal tale at the end of the Victorian period, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is online at http://www.tcom.ohiou.edu/books/kids/beatrix/p1.htm, where 8 other tales are reprinted as well with Beatrix Potter's original illustrations. If you have the right software, you can listen to an audio version with slide show.

Other optional ideas from Children's Literature: Dr. Seuss books with animal characters, Winnie the Pooh books (toy animals, domestic fantasy). Think about these as modern animal tales.

"The Duel" about the Gingham dog and the Calico Cat

"The Tyger" from William Blake's Songs of Experience

"The Kraken" and "The Eagle," short poems by Tennyson

Future Assignments

Trickster Tales

Go back to Schedule page for required assignments.

Quest Tales

“The Raven Brings Light,” 198. “The Search for the Magic Lake”
91. “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship,” 28. “Hansel and Gretel”

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”*
Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”*

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci," poem by John Keats

"The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Poems by J. R. R. Tolkein

"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Cinderella and Other Heroines

Boccaccio, “Isabetta and the Pot of Basil”*
1. Perrault, “Cinderella” (French), 10. Grimms’ “Ashenputtel” (German)
187. “The Magic Orange Tree” (Haiti)
179. “The Indian Cinderella” (see also picture book The Rough-Face Girl)
25. “The Sleeping Beauty” (German)
Maupassant, “The Necklace”*
Sexton, “Cinderella”*
Yolen, Briar Rose
Le Guin, “The Poacher”*


“Beauty and the Beast” 69. “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”
Also recommended : “Whitebear Whittington” (in Grandfather Tales—on reserve)
15. “The Frog Prince,” 69. “Prince Hedgehog”
Watch movie Like Water for Chocolate (based on novel by Laura Esquivel)

film The Polar Bear King (on reserve)

The Metamorphosis by Kafka

Magical, Malicious, and Monstrous Encounters

Jack and Molly and giants


Old Fire Dragaman web page

"Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll

Shakespeare, The Tempest

"Caliban Upon Setebos," poem by Robert Browning

William Hazlitt's Characters of Shakespeare's Plays, 1817, page with commentary on The Tempest


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