Folk Motifs

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Folk Motifs. Just some of the very many recurring lot elements we find in folk literature. Sources: and Norton, Through the Eyes of a Child 5 th ed. Motifs.
Folk MotifsJust some of the very many recurring lot elements we find in folk literatureSources: and Norton, Through the Eyes of a Child 5th ed.Motifs
  • a younger brother or sister who is good
  • an elder brother or sister who is mean or evil
  • a clever trickster
  • a wicked stepmother
  • a poor or mistreated younger child
  • the use of magical objects
  • a marvelous transformation
  • Motifs
  • a long sleep or enchantment
  • magical powers
  • an incantation (“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall”)
  • three wishes
  • trickery
  • the power of naming (as in “Rumpelstiltskin”)
  • invisibility
  • Motifs
  • becoming stuck somehow
  • the number 3 or 7
  • a repetitive phrase
  • a journey
  • repetitive tasks
  • a wise or a foolish beast
  • a family member leaves home
  • a villain surveys the situation
  • Motifs
  • hero or heroine is forbidden to do something
  • hero or heroine violates an order forbidding something
  • villain attempts to trick the victim in order to possess the victim or the victim’s belongings
  • hero or heroine leaves home
  • hero or heroine is tested, interrogated, or attacked, which prepares the way for him or her to receive a magical agent or a helper
  • Joseph Campbell and the Monomyth
  • the hero or heroine undergoes:
  • separation from the familiar world
  • initiation into new truths and understanding
  • return to the original world, where that newly won insight makes a difference
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