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Essay on Analysis of The Legend of Big Liz

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The Legend of Big Liz

During the Civil War there was a slave girl named Elizabeth...who worked on a plantation in Dorchester County. Her owner was a very wealthy man who was extremely paranoid that he would lose his assets if the war reached his home and the North won. As things began turning out poorly for the Confederates, the owner decided to hide his treasures in the Greenbriar Swamp. He took Elizabeth, who he called Liz, deep into the swamp and had her dig a hole to bury the treasure in. After the hole was dug and the treasure placed in it, the owner knocked Liz over the head and into the hole with his shovel. He could not risk keeping a slave with knowledge of the whereabouts of his treasure. As she was lying unconscious on top of the treasure, her owner began shoveling dirt back into the hole. Just before her face was completely covered, she regained consciousness and began screaming. Her owner just kept throwing dirt into the hole, however, and eventually buried Liz alive.

Several days later, the owner was found dead at the edge of the swamp with no obvious cause of death. It is believed that the ghost of Liz killed him for revenge, and so no one will ever know the location of the treasure. Even today one can go to Greenbriar swamp and possibly catch a glimpse of supernatural swamp lights in the form of Liz’s ghost. Supposedly, if you drive to the swamp, honk three times, and flash your headlights, the ghost of Liz will actually come out at you.

The performance of the storyteller was not particularly frightening at any point in the story. It was told for the purpose of entertainment, and the storyteller certainly kept his audience interested throughout the tale with hand gestures and body motions. At ...


... middle of paper ...


...themes will most likely remain as the foundation behind the legend regardless of how much it changes.



Works Cited

Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.

Dorchester County, Maryland – Overview and History. 29 March 2008 http://docogonet.com/index.php?page=overview_history.

Dougherty, Susan. The Legend of Big Lizz of Greenbriar Swamp. Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries. 1973.

Eastern Maryland. Pathways of Civil War Women Through Maryland. 29 March 2008 http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7xm7b/id7.html.

The Little Slave Girl Ghost. True Ghost Tales. 4 April 2008 http://www.trueghosttales.com/stories/slave-girl-ghost.php.

Webster, Danielle. Big Liz. Urban Legends and Superstitions. 2 April 2008 http://urbanlegendsonline.com/cars/bigliz.html.


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