The Significance of African American Folktales Essay

The Significance of African American Folktales Essay

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Folktales have the power to take us back to the beginnings of peoples’ lives, from their hopes to their defeats. African American folktales originated from people, most of who were long ago were brought to America from Africa to this country against their will. This group of enslaved people was torn from their individual cultures when they were forced to their past, families and their languages and customs behind him with their native land. The black people coming to America entered as slaves, and they were suppressed by white slave holders. They were not permitted to speak their own native tongues. The slave owners enforced that they speak American English but it was forbidden for them to read or write. They were forced to do hard labor and were told never to run away. Alone and helpless in a foreign land, the slaves lived under brutal conditions that any group of people have ever endured. One would find it hard to ever smile and laugh, let alone come up with riddles, songs, and tall tales. As slaves, they were forced to live on lands were they weren’t even considered citizens, without rights but still no amount of brutal hard labor and suffering could keep at bay the power of imagination the slaves had. To help them get through such brutal conditions they found refuge in telling stories, singing folk tales such as “Go down, Moses” that tells the story of Moses leading people to freedom or “Swing low, sweet chariot” and “All God’s children had wings” that says that in the end there is a better place after a bad situation. The primary goals of a successful folktale was more than entertainment to its audience it also sets out to impart moral values, instill codes of conduct, explain present circumstances, and explain natural pheno...


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...down the river also known as the Mississippi. It can also be related to a current situation if someone is in a circumstance where they feel trapped and need to be freed. For example someone who is stuck in an abusive situation and can’t get out because they are being held down by their oppressor may need someone to come in help free them of their current situation in the way that Moses came and freed the Israelites or the way Harriet Tubman came and freed slaves through the Underground Railroad.
In Conclusion, The primary goals of folktales is more than entertainment to its audience it also sets out to impart moral values, instill codes of conduct, explain present circumstances, and explain natural phenomena. In folk tales such as “Go down, Moses” that tells tell the story of Moses leading people to freedom demonstrates the primary goals of a successful folktale.

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