The Science Of Folklore English Literature Essay

1719 words (7 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 English Literature Reference this

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Since hundered years ago,the science of folklore has revolutionized our attitude towards such texts.Now we know the importance of folklore and we know no longer regard it having relation to mythology.According to some people folklore and mythology should not be separated.The dichotomy took hold in European circles when some of the anthropologist under the influence of Ellen Harrison and Lord raglan discovered a theory both myth and rituals are linked to each other.On the other folktales and folktales were not expected to have any relation with ritual.Folktales are traced back to the vedic ages.Now there are Brahamanas whi ch are Sanskrit texts composed by priests to explain the purpose of vedic rituals.This is their universal agenda and every line shows references to vedic sacrifice.There are some flaws in this argument which arises from distinction between myth and folktales,the distinction between the Great and the Little tradition and false supposition that myth is always associated with rituals.Ananda k .kumaraswamy says that “the content of folklore is metaphysical”.

The one thing one could do is to make a sequence of stories all along the line with some more folk then myth and reversal.But to do this ,one has to associate folk with tales that deals primarily with human problems and there is minimum intervention of supernatural .While myth would deal with supernatural problems.It is useful to distinguish between stories having different emphasis in “JAIMINIYA” and it is also not wise to say that folktales are not myths.They are myths with a non supernatural bent.They are stories about families and problems created before us by human society.

It can also be established that the Brahmanas are regarded as the private property of elite textualists who ever lived are infact undistinguishable from the stori es collected by the BrotherS Grimm in german farmhouses.So it is not easy to separate the folk material form classical material .Since these stories in “JAIMINIYA” were written by priest in Sanskrit and therefore regarded as part of “The Great tradition”.These prejudice is prevalent even when we know that folk material there is written in Sanskrit words such as Hitopadesa and Panchtantra .Because of their secularity they are regarded as folk tales ,the sacred Brahmanas could not descend the level Marchen,falling suddenly from myth to folktale.There are certain portion of Jaiminiya dealing with myths..The cosmic stories of the Gods and the Godesses , the creation of the world ,and origin of death ,all of them are well known,There are some stories which are about the sacrifice ,they are about the shadowsof sacrifice obscured in rituals but illuminated by narrations,The sacrifice in these tales have so many myths ssociated with it as clear from allusions in Rigveda.

We can locate folktales in space but not in particular time.We can specify the era or the age of the tales.Take an example of Danga-66G sqmile are in Gujarat.It is inhabited by many communities that modern Indian government would classify as Scheduled tribe.Goth was the word used in Dang for stories,narrative or account.There are so many stories of Dangis pasts such as ;Juni goth,Mohorni goth,padunchi goth.There is also a contrast being shown by Fabian of the coevalness of imperialism and anthroplology.There are two major events in which Dangis frame their past are “moglai” and “mandini”.Moglai is the time when Dangis moved in forests .Mandini marks the end of moglai.Mandini is associated with british rule over region.It shows the distinction between premodern and modern.Moglai is identified with pre-colonial and mandini is associated with british rule.History of Dangs on Gujarat deals with pre-colonialism and post colonialism .Most of the tales in Gujarat have tangential relations of past or present.Khari goth or true stories sustain to claim to time and space whereas imaginary goth come at margins of khari goth.Old men and women in their old age might often tell children other stories of their youth,stories which they learned from the vadils which leads to customs.There are so many things in folktales which are treated as customs now a days.In the story of “Vermilion and marriage”

,there are four members of tribe who were fast friends since boyhood.One of them was a hawked vermilion,another a weaver ,third took to wood carving and fourth was a goldsmith.Once they decided to spend night in a mango orchard.One was still awake,other three were sleeping.The wood carver was sitting idle ,he took a log of wood and chiselled it into a female figure.The goldsmith made a gold chain , pair of earrings and bangles for her.The waever wove a sari for female figure.The vermilion hawker anointed her head with vermilion just at day break.The four friends started quarreling as to who should marry the girl.A holy man heard their voices and said ,”he who made her is her father ,he who clothed her is her elder brother,he who gave ornaments is her uncle,he who brought her to life and put vermilion on her forehead is her husband” .And the woman became the wife of hawker.These customs are still prevalent in society.Applying vermilion on the forehead of a girl means that she is married to the boy who does so.Th e story tries to preserve tradition.It also reveals that fighting for a girl is commen practice in Indian society.It also supports the proverb “one who posseses skills can not sit idle”.The four friends were endowed with skill,rather than sitting idle.They preferred to work at night and could also enjoy enjoy the fruits of their labour.

By the study of anthropological studies ,it is clearly visible that folklore deals with one branch of anthropology named cultural anthropology.Bascom,professor of anthropology at the university of California at Berkeley is aware of depending on oral transmission.

According to Utley’s concept of folk literature he says that Bascom tends to make verbal art as boundary of folklore.which includes (myth,folktales and legends),but not folk dance,medicine and folk belief(superstition).Bascom also says that the text of ballads and other songs are folklore but the music of ballads and other songs are not.The folklore is linked with social science and humanities.Literary and anthropological approaches to folklore are clearly essential and ecomplementary.Each one has its own separate methods and ideology rather working on commen areas of interest.Cultural anthropology is referred to known as social anthropology.Anthropology is also associated with folklore.Archaeology is not directly related to folklore but it provides information about past developments.Linguistics in some way is related to folklore because they shared a commen verbal art.Any ethnographic study witout folkloreis partially and incomplete description of culture.Morever folklore sanctions and validates the social.religious and economic institutions .It also plays an important role in transferring this institution from generation to generation.

Culture is a great part of anthropology today.It consist of any kind of behavior acquired through learning.Under it anthropologists include all customs,traditions together with their methods of production.According to Dr. Gustav klemm of Dresdon from his collections of facts of history,he termed culture as “including customs ,information and skills domestic and public life is peace and war religion science and art” and says”it is manifest on branch of tree of deliberately shape,in the rubbing of sticks to make fire,the cremation of a deceased,father corpse the decorative painting of once body,the transmission of past experience to new generation”.Folklore is studied in anthropology,because it is part of culture.It is a part of tradition,customs,a part of heritage.Many folktales were rejected because they did not fill the recognized need of accepted patterns or tradition of folklore.Folktales are dyanamic that changes with needs of society.The folk element in folklore presents no new problems as anthropologist sees it.There are various questions on who invwnted various themes of folktales,how they have reworked in the past and how the previous variation have influenced the product of any given story teller or writer.Since any cultural law have taken hold on folklore,the data collection of folklore used to bute testify the ideology of culture.The accepted theories of culture can thus contribute to theory of folklore.

The theory of cultural evolution developed by Tyler,Morgan and other remains a point of contention between anthropologists and folklorists.This theory was accepted by scholars of latter half of nineteenth century and developed and described by the scholars of 20th century.Folklorists have defined folklore that folklore have survived from earlier stage of civilization as the “shadowy remnants of ancient religious rites still incorporated in the lives of illeterates and rustics”.Analyzation of theory of cultural evolution shows that it was based on certain ideologies which were never proved and in some cased later on have been disapproved.We can not search the ultimate origin of folklore by evolution and age-area concept because archaeological evidences and historical documents are lacking.If we try to reconstruct history on restricted side ,it can give result only in terms of probability than proven facts.Change in folktales can be studied perfectly in process rather than reconstructions based in deistribution.When Cushing some sixty five years ago had the forsight to record the Italian tale of “the cock and the mouse”as told by juni informant.The companion of the juni variants spotlights many juni stylistic features and serves only to show”what transformation the original in underwent in such a brief period and how well it has ben adopted to juni environment and mode thought,but also to give a glimpse of Indian method of folktale making”.Through the examples of changing forms in folktales,we can learn about freedom give to the narrator in various forms of folktales in various societies.

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