The article under the headline “Traditional literature” written by Kiefer et al. is centered around traditional literature perspectives, its origins, and major genres. Traditional literature is supposed to be the oral tradition of telling stories. It embraces a lot of stories of supernatural creatures and people with magical abilities who are able to struggle with evil under any circumstances.
Justice, kindness, and spiritual generosity are the significant features of these narratives, making children comprehend the basis of the “the good and the evil” patterns. It goes without saying that small kids are avid lovers of folktales, as they are inspired and motivated to follow the role models of their beloved characters set by these stories.
There are several genres and subgenres of traditional literature with their own peculiar characteristics that make people distinguish one type from another one. All these genres have a lot in common, as they are built from the oral tradition of retelling that is given to individuals from generation to generation. Traditional literature is somewhat enlightening and educational power for small kinds who begin to form their personality and individuality by repeating the behavioral pattern of their heroes.
Folktales are supposed to be clear-cut examples of traditional literature. This kind of story is “a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of traditional narratives.” As a rule, folktales represent short stories outlining simple plots with imaginary characters. The origins of folktales are unknown, but many famous authors, such as the Grim Brothers and Walt Disney with his cartoons, took well-known folktales as the basis of their books and movies.
Major subtypes of folktales
- Cumulative tales
In cumulative stories, the plot itself is not so important as the “increasingly repetition of the details building up to a quick climax.” Small children are obsessed with these stories as they are easy to learn by heath and so-called “ear-worm”;
- Pourquoi tales
The tales that are based on examination to children of how this world was created, why animals have particular features, and how human beings inherited their long-standing traditions;
- Beast tales
They are the favorite genre of small children due to their supernatural and magical main characters. In these stories, “animals act and talk like human beings,” making kids fascinated and thrilled. Generally, in beast tales, cunning, and small animals, such a rabbit or a mouse, fool and trick big ones;
- Wonder tales
Fairy tales where wonders never cease and wicked witches and dragons are beaten by princes or a kind magician;
- Realistic tales
Tales that are based on true stories, but they are hard to believe due to the heroic deeds of people who are full of courage and a kind heart.
Characteristics of Folktales
- Plot structure
All stories are short and highly simple is easy to remember. Stories depict conflicts among the main characters and the way they find solutions to resolve these conflicts. They have a quick introduction with few details, but a reader is able to understand what this story will be about during further reading, and an increasing climax of actions;
Main characters are depicted in “flat dimensions” with no development during a story. The purpose of the reader is to detect an evil character and a good one; this aim is easily accomplished by the quick descriptions of leading personages;
There are a lot of archaic phrases and structures in this genre;
Every story has its motif and a message to broaden children’s horizons and enlighten them.