Megersa Bib

Annotated Bibliography

Colby, B. N., George A. Collier, and Susan K. Postal. “Comparison of Themes in Folktales by the General Inquirer System.” The Journal of American Folklore 76.302 (1963): 318-23. Print.

There are many different cultures where folktales serve as the main outlet of learning about their rich cultural history. However it become rather difficult to perform any form of content analysis on these ancient texts if they are not written in English. The General Inquirer System is a tool developed to use a highly functioning computer to isolate keywords associated with certain themes. This site is helpful in providing an outline of how to analyze old texts.

Hamer, John. “Folktales, Socialization, and the Content of Social Relationships: An Ethiopian Example.” Anthropos 67 (1972): 388-404. Print.

This article attempts to investigate the group dynamics among the inhabitants of the Sidamo region of Southern Ethiopia using folktales as a guide. The project is based on the assumption that folktales are a reflective mirror of the characteristics and nature of the bearers of the story. Each folktale was judged on four main factors:

1) “Authority dyads in which one of the characters commands another to carry out a specific task or activity.

2)Dyads mentioned in regards to the resolution of conflict.

3) Dyadic bonds described as necessary to lead a sucessful life.

4)  Two person relationships regarded as being difficult to break.

5)  Dyads mentioned in connection with childrearing.”

Jirata, Tadesse. “Children as Interpreters of Culture: Producing Meanings from Folktales in Southern Ethiopia.” Journal of Folklore Research 48.3 (2011): 269-92. Print.

Folktales are one medium that society can use to educate the youth about cultural norms and beliefs. This article delves into a case study of the Guji Oromo ethnic group. More specifically it focuses on how children process and interpret the folktales they hear. The creative way in which children choose to retell the folktales that they have heard allow for them to navigate through the complexity of integrating ancient wisdom into a relevant and applicable message to modern day society. I hope to be able to use some of their methodology of extracting the meanings out folktales and presenting it in a useful fashion.

Korten, D. (1971). The life game: Survival strategies in Ethiopian folktales. Beverly Hills, Calif: [Sage Publications].

Folktales can be used to determine how the particular culture from where the story comes from views the world.Childs et Al developed a coding scheme of identifying “the distinctive characteristics of Ethiopian folktales”. The code used was known as “Thema” and evaluated “a) a situation confronting an actor

b) the actor’s response,

c) the experienced consequences.”

Using the three indicators above he concluded that Ethiopians perceive the world as a competitive zero sum game where one person wins and the other loses.

Laird, Elizabeth, Michael Sargent, Shimeles Birru, and Dr. Negusse Araya. “Ethiopian Folktales.” Ethiopian Folktales. Christensen Fund. Web. 11 June 2015. <>.

The website contains a massive collection of over 300 folktales across 14 different geographical locations. The diversity of folktales found are quite vast. Everything from the language in which the story was natively told in to the down right content of the story usually vary however there are certain themes (listed below) that can be found in every single one of these folktales.

  • Creation stories
  • Animal fables
  • Inheritance stories
  • Ogres, wizards, jinns etc (these include cannibal ogres in Gambela, jinns in Somalia and Harar, witches, were-hyenas, wizards, fairies, seers and soothsayers)
  • Story cycles of cunning tricksters
  • The cleverness of women
  • Tribal origins or folk history
  • Moral tales to teach good manners or acceptable social behavior
  • Jokes

Sinclair, Stéfan, Geoffrey Rockwell and the Voyant Tools Team. 2012. Voyant Tools (web application).

This website serves as an online tool to analyze text. I will use this site to trace common sentence structures, key words and themes among the various folktales.

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