Understanding The Function Of Folklore

1426 Words Oct 11th, 2016 6 Pages
When telling a story, context is necessary for understanding. If you tell a story without any background information, it is incomplete. You can say the end of the story in a single sentence, but without the preceding information, the message would not have as much impact. Just as context is important in one story, it is also important in folklore. Folklore is a field with many intricacies and components. To understand the function of folklore, you have to have context. Without details and background information, the lore is incomplete, and the bigger picture cannot be seen. The context is the backbone of the lore. As Bascom notes in his work, "the text [...] is extremely important, but without the context it remains lifeless" (Bascom 335). The performance of the story is part of the context. The "the voice and the mimicry, the stimulus and the response of the audience" are all a part of the context (Bascom 335). Lore cannot be experienced in a vacuum. When lore is written without context it is just a "mutilated bit of reality" (Bascom 335). Bascom saw that the lack of context left a hole in a folklorist 's understanding of the folk. The people who practice the lore see the lore within its context, so to understand the folk, you must understand lore. To understand the lore, you must see the context. Every type of folklore requires context to understand it. McNeill summarizes folklore into four categories: things we say, things we do, things we make, and things we believe.…

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