Having examined fairy tales from the European tradition, we are now moving on to the folklore of America. There are countless “tall tales” from far and wide in the fledgling United States, and the folktales of this country are simultaneously exceptional and unusual while also being discernibly connected to prior tales and traditions. To examine these fascinating stories, you have two options: 1) In response to the stories assigned for Monday, you should identify and choose a significant theme or image from a specific tale that you find to be particularly intriguing. Then, I’d like you to do a little (research) reading into the historical time period in question and the issue in question as it relates to that age. Next, move on to examine the issue as it appears in the story and offer a brief interpretive analysis of just what the author seems to be doing by way of rendering that issue for the reader in this tale. 2) The second option for this response is offered in the spirit of light-hearted fun that infuses these American “tall tales.” For those of you with a creative spirit (and/or those who simply to try out something a little different), I’d like you to write a short “story” of a kind. Specifically, put together a brief excerpt that presents another “story” featuring one of our three characters for Monday — Davy Crockett, Paul Bunyan, or Daniel Boone. In your story, try to adopt the tone, diction, and narrative style of your chosen source, and then offer a tale that may somehow seem “authentic” in its representation of this character and type of story. If you would additionally like to give us any overview of your thoughts and approach in writing your story, of course you may feel free to outline that for us as well. Have some fun with this!!
One of the tales that I find particularly interesting is Paul Bunyan. The most important theme that I chose for this “tall tale” is friendship. I realize that it seems odd, but I think that was one of the most important ones. Back in that time, friendship was just objective. For example, in the tale of Daniel Boone, he just cast his family aside without even mourning it appears. In Paul Bunyan, he would do anything for his best friend, Babe the blue ox. Paul went so far as to make this ox green sunglasses when the snow came so that his dear friend would not starve. I think that the author of this particular piece was stating that although friendship was not usual for that point in time, neither was abnormally large men or oxen. This was particularly symbolic because he even went to the length of burying his large best friend after he died. I thought this was unusual as well because when someone died back then, people just kept moving, but Babe and Paul Bunyan had a special bond that broke normality of that century.
I completely agree with this; and I myself was going to choose this story as well. Friendship is a key theme in this story, as is evident through Babe and Paul. They both complete each other and would be nothing without one another. Everyone who knows or has heard of the story of Paul Bunyan always remembers, if anything, that he had a blue ox; at least that’s what I immediately thought about. And Babe the blue ox is also a great image in this story. It symbolized the strength and toughness of them both
I was also going to write about Paul Bunyan. When ever some heres the name Paul Bunyan or anything relating to the story, they immediately think of Paul and Babe. They couldn’t be separated in any situation. So the theme I would think about is too friendship. Paul and Babe were strong together and would do anything and everything with one another. The true duo of friendship.
As to not repeat what has already been said, I decided to reply to this post as well. I also think a lot of friendship when I hear the name Paul Bunyan. You always here about Paul and Babe. One can’t be mentioned without the other one. To me, they are very much the definition of best friends. They had an honest bond that could not be broken, which for that time was a rare thing.
I believe that the main theme in the tale of Paul Bunyan is making the best out of the cards you’re dealt (in Paul’s case, to have a happy life in spite of his differences). Paul Bunyan can be labeled as an “outsider” due to his extreme height, overall size, strength, and quickness, even as a child. More than several tall tale exaggerations are made, e.g. “Paul rolled over so much in his sleep that he caused an earthquake,” and, “he also was extremely fast. He could turn off a light and then jump into his bed before the room got dark.” While I’m on the topic, I might add that these are two prime examples of “greater than life” descriptions given to the main character found in your typical tall tale. In the beginning of the story, Paul and his blue ox named Babe are working in forests in Maine. In the early 1830’s, Maine contained one of the world’s largest shipping ports for lumber, and by the beginning of the 20th century the Pacific Northwest became a logging center. After reading about the history of logging in America, it makes sense that the story starts off in Maine and then moves on to work in other forests. Getting back to the main theme, Paul faced multiple hurdles throughout the story. Earlier I touched upon the fact that Paul was unlike most other people in appearance, setting him apart from the start. Two other examples of making the best out of a situation would be the dog that was cut in two and the creation of the huge green sunglasses for Babe. On the camp lived a dog named Sport, who was once accidentally cut in half and put back together the wrong way. The dog learned to work with the situation, alternating between walking on his front legs and back legs. In Babe’s case, when winter came, he had trouble finding food due to the fact that snow covered everything. The blacksmith in the camp invented huge green sunglasses for Babe so that when Babe wore the sunglasses, he thought that everything was green, i.e. making the best out of the (seasonal) situation.
For option one I chose an issue from Davy Crockett. The issues that was always present was the issue of survival. Crockett was always faced with theses life or death situations in his tale. He battled animals single handedly and often shot others. The issue of survival was always present in American Folklore and how it was portrayed. In Crockett’s case survival was the easiest thing around and an enjoyment to him. He was able to fight off these animals with ease because he had great strength. But in reality survival was hardest thing known to man at this time. Being attacked by animals was a constant issue in everyday. Attacks from bear and mountain lions, two animals that Crockett fought off, were always a concern. Hunters often went after these animals but were scared of being killed by the animals they chased after. Crockett’s tale gave everyday people some relief because they were shown that an ordinary man just like them could fight off such great animals. Crockett taught people how to survive and how to take care of these animals with style.
When I was reading Davy Crockett’s tale I kept thinking of the survival aspect, how he fought just to survive those animals. I couldn’t help but think of my last blog, many times in tales you can see animals endangering people’s lives, or people fearing animals. Crockett fought off wild bears and mountain lions, similarly to Little Red Cap and her grandmother killed the wolves in self-defense; weather you use your whit’s or your strength to kill it’s all about surviving from day to day and not becoming the next animal’s meal. I respect that it’s kill or be killed quality in the characters of these tales. Personally I wouldn’t have the strength or state of mind to kill another creature but do you really want to read a story where the protagonist doesn’t put up a fight or lacks the strength and courage and gets swallowed whole for lunch? Of course not that would be boring.
For my choice I will take Davy Crockett, his story was the most interesting to me because it was focused on the most complex problem man has always faced, survival. Back in the times of the american frontier it was always about surviving. Davy Crockett faced some fierce animals and handled them with his incredible strength. I believe that this story was created to embody the american people and to make them feel that if one man like Davy could do it than everyone could. Society in that time was facing death almost on a daily basis, whether it was the elements or the wildlife. I feel that this story truly portrayed the american people and their struggle against an unknown land. Davy Crockett was just the story the american people needed in this new and undiscovered land.
I agree 100% with you, I was going to talk about Davy Crockett as well and how the overall theme is simply survival and about the reader getting an incite into how life was back then and what lengths people, both women and men, had to go to in order to live, also the skills they needed to do so. I read a bunch of the Davy Crockett stories when I was in high school and even though they can be a little difficult (boring) to read at times, I think, like you said, it does a very good job to portray the way the people lived in response to the land and how their pioneering spirits allow us today to better understand life here in America when it was new (not that The U.S. is by any means an old country today.)
I totally agree that Davy Crockett embodies what the American folktale is. He was a strong character of the frontier and did what he had to do in the situations he was put in. I think that this story in particular is the prime example of how American folklore is very different from the Greek myths and many different types of myths and legends that we have previously encountered. Like John mentioned, his main focus is survival. This tale is much more focused on reality. Davy Crockett fights his own battles and doesn’t wait for a fairy godmother or God of the Wilderness to come and save him. He saves himself.
The story I found to be most interesting was that of Paul Bunyan, simply because it was the funniest. The introduction to the story mentioned that these tall tales were meant to be funny so I thought that humor would be a good topic to try and understand in the story. The time period in the stories is that of Manifest Destiny, the idea that the United States would stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and that idea of scale influences the type of humor found in story of Paul Bunyan. The jokes always involve the sheer magnitude of the smallest things that Paul does such as rolling over as a small child, which causes earthquakes. Paul’s table to eat on was so big that it took a day to get from one side to the other and that each pancake he ate could feed ten men, which made for an interesting detail in the story. At a point in history where people were coming to terms with how big the world really is, it would be comical or at least relaxing to hear about a man for whom the world is actually quite small.
I think what Jonathan is saying about people being in a different point of history is very important. Up until now, most of the myths we have read haven’t exactly been carefree and happy. Most of the stories we have read, even if they seemed fun and silly on the surface, usually had some darker or more violent aspect behind it. I think Paul Bunyan really illustrates just how drastically times are changing. As we move forward and read increasingly more modern pieces of literature, we really can really see the evolution of humans morals and values. A story like Paul Bunyan may seem silly and inconsequential but it was the kind of story that was necessary at the time. People would read the story and be happy and hopeful afterward.
For my “tall tale” I thought I would talk about Paul Bunyan and its theme of Manifest Destiny, which is the belief that America should push out and settle westward. In the story Paul Bunyan starts of logging in Maine put as then as the story moves on he is further and further out west. For example the Round lake mentioned in the tale that Paul digs out is an actual lake in Minnesota which is far west from Maine. Another example of this is in the story it is also mentioned that Paul and Babe were so large that the tracks that they left as they walked around Minnesota filled and made up 10,000 lakes. I believe the whole moral or theme of this tale was to encourage people to expand westward by showing the benefits of it and money to be made using Paul Bunyan.
Gotta agree with you Eric. I too thought Manifest Destiny was central to the story. I think the goal of the story was to show how humble Americans could shape the environment around them if they worked hard enough. My belief is that the story aims to show how the unknown wilds really were tameable if a few good men (or heroes) set out to make their mark. I thought it was worth note that the tale didn’t pay much mind to the negatives. Paul, Babe, and his seven other companions seem to be having a jolly old time clearing out forests and traveling state to state. The story includes inclement weather, but it doesn’t impact them or deter them from their (noble?) cause as much as it could have. It also fails to mention wild animals or Native Americans. Obviously I think this is to get people to move west, but I still wonder whether this was done to keep listeners oblivious to such dangers that they might not be dissuaded from the journey, or whether it was because the author actually felt that the animals and Native Americans really weren’t to be feared?
Yes!! I also enjoyed this story the most as it relates so well with context of early US history. The time period of manifest destiny revolved completely around the idea that America was meant to expand from sea to sea, and explore they did. This was without a doubt the central theme to this tale. I would have to agree with what was said about how this was meant to glorify the exploration of the west. The expansion of America was one of great bloodshed with Native Americans, disputes over land, etc., none of which are even remotely mentioned in the tale. It seems to just be the story of friends traveling about happily. In fact, when I read this tale, I thought of it as a “disneyfication” of the westward expansion of the United States. It takes a serious historical concept and makes it a lighthearted tale for the value of entertainment.
There weren’t many men like Davy Crockett. He was a real, live American frontier hero. He fought and died at the Alamo. In the famous sunrise story, Davy saw the sun frozen, jammed between two pieces of ice. He had a bear on his back that he recently killed and beat the dead animal on the ice. It got hot because hot oil burst out of the carcass, so the ice melted. Then, he gave the sun a big kick and everything was turning again. Smiling, Davy Crockett lit his pipe with a ray of sunshine. Then, he took the bear and went home with a piece of sunshine in his pocket (In reality, you cannot have a ray of sunshine in your pocket; this is a hyperbole). Davy’s personality as a hero is shown through this story.
Paul Bunyan retreated to live in the northern parts of Alaska. There was plenty of forest for him to chop and food to eat. Paul set up a camp to live in for the next few months where no one would find him. One day, after Paul came from his daily chopping, he ran into another woman. Her name was Debra. Debra Bellet was just like Paul. She had the strength of multiple men and was quicker than any animal on earth. Paul and Debra became friends after a few minutes. They had never met someone else like them before. There they lived in the wilderness together. When winter came, Paul and Debra left to an island where they would be happy. The island had plenty of trees and food to last them. One day, Paul stayed out too late causing Debra to become upset. When Debra became upset, she started an angry rainstorm of tears. Debra was so upset this time that the rain caused a flood on the island. Paul swam away and retreated to the closest place, opposite of where Debra was. She still searches far and wide for Paul while he continues to hide in multiple locations, occasionally being spotted by natives.
The tall tale that I am going to be analyzing is Paul Bunyan. A theme in this tale that I find interesting is how everyone helps and looks out for each other. When paul was growing up he helped his dad cut down trees and his parents always looked out for him and found somewhere for him to sleep at night. Also instead of Paul just ignoring the baby ox, he cares for him until it dies. The ox helped out Paul & his crew with their work, such as when the ox straightens a crooked road. Paul, his crew and the ox all stick together for the whole time and become lifelong friends. One of the issues I think the author is showing the reader is how hard it is to be a lumberjack for a living. He explains how Paul & his crew were getting attacked by insects, and how they had to find their own food and water when they didn’t have someone in the crew that could cook. Also if you have animal assistance, how hard it is to keep track of them. Historically, in this time period America was expanding further west and we need people to clear the forests for us so that people could build structures. Many people were lumberjacks that had to cut down untamed wood so that we could build houses and railroads.
The story that I will be discussing is, “Crockett’s Daughters.” The story tells about Crockett’s 3 daughters, but they aren’t just any normal daughters. They are,”Strappin’,” young ladies. Either they are extremely tall, very strong, or wield supernatural powers. It speaks to the theme that the setting was very unforgiving and that you wouldn’t survive if you were a, “Girly-girl.” The wild landscape punished anyone who couldn’t use they’re surroundings to survive, a girl was doing just as much work as the boys. Food was scare and if you had a mouth to feed, you had better make sure that person is pulling they’re weight and that they know enough to make it on their own. For someone thinking of migrating out west, it would be informative to hear this story. It serves an entertaining purpose as a tall-tale, but reveals the reality that since the women are tough, everyone must be tough.
The story that I will be discussing is, “Crockett’s Daughters.” The story tells about Crockett’s 3 daughters, but they aren’t just any normal daughters. They are,”Strappin’,” young ladies. Either they are extremely tall, very strong, or wield supernatural powers. It speaks to the theme that the setting was very unforgiving and that you wouldn’t survive if you were a, “Girly-girl.” The wild landscape punished anyone who couldn’t use they’re surroundings to survive, a girl was doing just as much work as the boys. Food was scare and if you had a mouth to feed, you had better make sure that person is pulling they’re weight and that they know enough to make it on their own. For someone thinking of migrating out west, it would be informative to hear this story. It serves an entertaining purpose as a tall-tale, but reveals the reality that since the women are tough, everyone must be tough. rob
I totally agree! It was a time where as a result of the location, it was acceptable for women to get their hands dirty. “Strappin” young ladies are the full package, tough and hardworking. Crockett daughters raised his daughters to understand what it was to live in a area where food wasn’t easy to find, dangerous animals and independence was integral. Women held many responsibilities such as aiding the movement of households overland, establishing social activities in frontier settlements, and sharing the hard labor of farming land. Although this was frowned upon at times, many women found work in the sex trade because the male population was so heavy. Overall there was a lot for women to do in frontiers that would be viewed differently in society. The towns soon brought in women who worked as laundresses and seamstresses, and organized church societies to bring the community together.
A common theme I see in these folktales is the the theme of exploration and pioneering. All the character have a sense of adventure and there stories revolve around their exploration. I think that these stories were written because it was the time of exploration in America. They also seem to have run into native Indians in their adventures. The character I am an analyzing is Daniel Boone. He was famous for his settlement and exploring of Kentucky. This goes along with the theme of pioneering in the new land. The tale follows his adventure into discovering new found land and talks about his encountering native Indians. He was regarded and portrayed as a excellent American hunter and frontiersman. His characteristics show him as a fearless explorer. His story describes his encounter with Indians as one of terror. His friend John Stewart was killed by who he refers to as savages. This shows the portrayal of the Indians as the villains. The themes in American Folktales are centered on exploration and pioneering greatness. These characters exhibit a great sense of adventure and a want to see the land they have just discovered.
The tale I found to be most interesting was that of Paul Bunyan. The common theme of processing of land is what made Paul Bunyan’s story so interesting. It seemed to me that Paul Bunyan was created in order to explore the settlement of the northern region of the U.S and the south of Canada. Paul Bunyan was created in the nineteenth century, which is around the time that Americans were expanding to the northwestern frontier. This makes it really easy to see that the development of this tale was to tell about the lives of the men who worked to settle this region. Paul is used as an extreme representative of the struggles that these men faced and how they worked through these hardships. For example it follows Paul through his journey across the country and how he worked to clear vast areas of land that were later used for settlement and farming. This taming of the land was what lumberjacks were doing all over this region at this time in history. Hardships that lumberjacks faced were also explored through Paul’s story like the problems facing the cold, harsh climate and the shortage of food. It seems as though this tale was a way to motivate the people in these regions to persevere through the hardships and if they did push through they could become legendary as well. Like all myths and legends, there is a common theme, or purpose that teaches about the time in which their characters lived. The legend of Paul Bunyan is the same in that it is a generalization of what life was like for the people who lived in this region in the nineteenth century, during the settlement of the U.S.
The story I would like to discuss is the one of Daniel Boone. He carries with him the major themes of discovery, leadership, and exploration that has since been passed on from his main story. Boone is one of the most well known American frontiersmen and his discovery of the state of Kentucky has inspired many future stories and tales. Although Boone was seen to care more about discovery and his career than his family life his actions are still majorly significant today and in history. What is interesting in Boone’s story is that he grew up with such love of the wilderness and independance and became famous because of his discovery of Kentucky. His leadership skills allowed him to save parts of Kentucky that would have otherwise been lost, and because of his drive to explore and discover, he became a heroic figure in the eyes of frontiersmen. His story influenced authors to write novels and even several films in the future. During this time period, exploration of land was a huge deal and by discovering land you would become extremely looked up to and even idolized. That is why it is such a huge deal that Daniel Boone discovered Kentucky.
The tall tale that I wish to examine is the story of Davy Crockett. When I read it I kind of thought about how tough it must have been to survive back in that time period. It was a tough time with close to none of the things that we take advantage of today. It just shows how tough you have to be to survive in that period. One of the passages that caught my attention was when he said she pulled three or four rattle snacks out of a hole and tied them up into a rope. I originally thought that it was pretty funny but then I thought well it must’ve come from somewhere. So I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it must be an analogy for being strong. The chance of that actually happening are slim so it goes to say to survive back than you’d have to do something like that. Not literally grabbing rattle snacks but doing things to stay alive. Its impressive how our ancestors survived then but chances are not many of us would.
I found the tale of Paul Bunyan to be the most interesting out of the folktales we’ve read. I believe an important theme to Paul’s tale is that of expansion and development. Paul Bunyan explored the northern regions of America and worked to clear trees and explain the hardships of expansion but also the necessity of it. This tale was created during a time period where Americans were starting to expand their land and settle into new areas. Paul Bunyan’s tale is a depiction of those who worked to settle the northern frontier. Paul works to clear vast areas of trees in order for settlement and cultivation. This was a popular job for many men during this time period. Lumberjacks were used all over to clear land and help in the process of moving west. Paul’s story shows the many hardships faced by the lumberjacks. It can be said that this tale was used to motivate Americans to push through hardships and continue expanding. The legend of Paul Bunyan can be seen as a picture of what life was like during the nineteenth century and the development of the United States.
I completely agree with you about Paul Bunyan’s stories. His tales really represent the real American frontiersman in a way. Paul Bunyan clearing through all of the land cutting down all of those trees represents the expansion of civilization in the west. Also included in these stories is the dog named Sport. Sport was accidentally cut in half, but learned to overcome his struggles and prosper. I believe this represents the many hardships that Americans had to overcome during the westward expansion.
In North America during the time of western exploration, people would tell stories called Tall Tales to express the experiences they were having and use them as entertainment. For most people living out on the frontier, life meant having to deal with the elements of nature as well as the already inhabiting Native Americans. These aspects of the frontiersmen’s lives are seen throughout the tales of Davy Crockett. In the story “A Pretty Predicament”, Crockett’s raccoon cap is under the attack of Eagles and he is then saved by a Gal in the woods. This instance in the story gives examples of the natural elements of the frontier. People were in constant struggle with the wildlife as well as their ability to survive in the natural elements. Davy and the Gal are seen as having great physical strength and enhanced survivability. These characters would have been a model for how Frontiersmen and women would want to be like. After all, on the frontier it was the survival of the fittest.
When Davy is being attacked by the eagles, his thoughts are over encumbered by the threat of the “Inguns”, or the Native Americans that are inhabiting where the frontiersmen are expanding. Conflicts with the Natives were a huge fear for the settlers. They were very weary of attacks on their settlements because of their expansion into Indian Territory. The Indians also employed enhanced guerrilla fighting tactics that many of the settlers were not accustomed to facing. Davy’s fear of being scalped by an Indian is included in the story so that the threat is reinforced into the minds of the people that heard it.
Paul Bunyan was an abnormally large child. He grew quick like a weed and strong like an Ox. The towns’ people did not like Paul for he was a nuisance by trade. Paul did not want to be a nuisance but like an arse-backward form of Midas everything he touched seemed to fall to shambles. No matter how his parents tried his size could not be changed.
Paul Bunyan lived in the forest and everyday he would walk to the river to visit a friend of his. Paul loved to visit Big Fish. She was a beautiful fish of many different colors that lived in the river that was too small for her size. One day Paul got to thinking and he followed the river until it took him to a big ocean, an ocean large enough for Big Fish. So Paul walked back down the river and attached a rope to Big Fish. Paul led big fish to the ocean and she swam off happy. She thanked Paul Bunyan with the gift of a big pearl from deep down. He used this pearl to help with the finances of his camp.
For option one I am going to use my favorite of the assigned tales which is without a doubt Paul Bunyan. I found it to be the most entertaining and a good example of what a true tall tale is supposed to look like. The story of Paul Bunyan carries all of the traits one would find in a typical tall tale and carries them out to the fullest. The main character, Paul Bunyan himself, is a giant lumberjack with superhuman abilities. As an infant, he caused massive earthquakes and giant waves due to his sheer size which was later controlled as Bunyan grew older. He eventually became a fantastic lumberjack as he was able to clear out entire forests with just a single swing of his axe. Along his journeys, he came across his unusual best friend, Babe, a blue ox, who also grew to be abnormally big. Babe was not only a friend to Paul Bunyan but he also aided him with his lumberjack affairs as well as other activities, such as straightening out roads. Because of this close relationship between the two, the most notable theme is highlighted; companionship. Not only during the time that Paul Bunyan was written, but throughout past and present times, the idea of companionship is always highly positive and a good thing to have. Everyone goes through life with having at least one companion or friend who is always there for them no matter the situation. Paul Bunyan and Babe highlight this perfectly through their interactions with each other and although they are completely different in shape, their feelings toward one another remains the same.
One fall mornin when the wind became all strong and gusty it shook the trees releasing their leafy burden. I can runnin among those dancin leaves and soon dropped myself among those crunchy feathers that just fell. There’s no denyin how beautiful that there scene was with the different colors. And as I rest among the pile I drift into a dreamy dream. The dream spoke to I in many ways givin me the hope fir the futur. My dream told of my amazin darters and their invincible acts. Me darters be perfect and accomplish much. In me dream we rule this here world. And with some great happy I awoke from a harsh breeze. This dream give me determination for me futur. Davy Crockett and he invincible darters will rule this here world. The wind glide me along towards my futur and granted my dear dream true yet ye darters and I have not yet become the rulers of this here world but ye darters rule ovr me own.
The tale I am going to be discussing about is that of Paul Bunyan. If I were to select the main theme of this story, I would say the theme is friendship. Paul and Babe the Blue Ox develop a tremendous friendship and I think their friendship is special given both of their outcasted sizes. I believe the author of this tale focuses on friendship to showcase how important it can be to have a friend. Paul Bunyan was castes away by his people because of his abnormal size, which could most definitely lead to him feeling lonely. Luckily, he was able to find Babe and form a friendship that helped him thrive. During this period of time, friendship wasn’t as valued and it seemed that most of people’s lives were spent with just their families; but this story exposes that sometimes people need a true friend to bring out their true potential.
I will be replying to the first option. The story I will talk about is Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone is a guy who comes to mind when we think about western frontier. His name is in state parks, streets, books, paintings and so on today. He is looked at as an American icon. The Boone’s were Quakers who came to America to seek religious freedom. Daniel and his father did not always get along. Daniel was different from his brothers, and never refused to cry. Daniel learned how to hunt. He fought to make Americans free and how to survive on their own. Indians played a crucial part in the story of Daniel Boone. He learned their customs, their ways of life, and most importantly how to appreciate the American land. Daniel Boone will continue to be an inspiration to many years from now. He truly was a hero to many. The ways of survival are why people like me and you are still living today. Thanks to him as well as the Indians.
A recurring theme in Daniel Boone’s tale is courage. In the beginning of the story he leaves his family with a group of men to explore Kentucky. They face harsh weather, rough terrain, and occasional skirmishes with Native Americans, all in the name of adventure. Daniel Boone and his brave group of men went out to accomplish what no other man has done at the time by submerging themselves into the American wilderness with little to no knowledge of what to expect. Daniel Boone himself and a few of his men are captured by Native Americans along their journey and while building Fort Boonsborough while being attacked several times by their small armies. He earns the respect of the Indians that have captured him and see that not every tribe is the same and that they aren’t entirely savages, even though he decides to escape from captivity several times. Nonetheless Daniel Boone is not deterred by these shortcomings because he is a brave and courageous frontiersman thus having a successful campaign in Kentucky.
“After the death of Babe, Paul became very depressed. It’s said that he cried so much at the loss of his friend, that he made the Mississippi River twice as deep and wide as it used to be. One day as Paul was continuing to move westward with his Axemen, he came across a barn in North Dakota that had been lit on fire by a horse accidentally kicking a lantern into a pile of dry hay. Paul and his Axmen rushed to the barn with buckets of water, but the flames continued to grow bigger and stronger despite their efforts. But then, Paul took in a huge breathe of smoke and coughed so hard that the fire was blown into the air and suffocated. The farmer that owned the barn was so thankful to Paul and his Axemen, that he gave them enough food and stock to make a trip all the way to Washington. Before Paul left, however, he noticed that one of the horses in the barn had taken a liking to Paul. The horse was so massive that its hoof prints left a circle so large that you could fit fifteen standing men in them. The farmer let Paul have the horse as another gift for saving the barn. Paul was unsure at first what to name the horse, but as he noticed how it was jumping for joy at the sight of his savior, Paul decided to name the horse Skip. So Paul, his Axemen, and Skip all continued deeper into the western territory, clearing out forests as they went along.” – Nolan Wentworth.
I really enjoyed this particular blog post. I love reading folklore almost as much as writing it. I think what made Paul Bunion’s stories so attractive is how crazy and absurd it’s elements are. Everything is blown out of normal proportions, making for funny and bizarre tales.
A common theme I see throughout the story of Paul Bunyan is innovation. No matter what with everything he did or ran into trouble doing he figured out a neat creative way to go about doing it. This goes into why stories like this were made. By showing that this giant man could just walk about the country making a living, it gae a beer positive feeling to the American people about moing west. But back to the innovative theme, Bunyan always soled his problems in creative ways. Like walking around Minnesota with his ox creating the 10,000 lakes, or when he came across the round river and made it the round lake, or even when he and his men were getting attacked by mosquitoes, he brought bees to try and sae them, but ended up using the mosquitoes to drill maple trees. Yes this story and all like it wrote back in the day were to suade Americans to enjoy living everyday life, and this made Paul Bunyan a key icon in the west and about american’s Manifest Destiny.
In the tall tale of Paul Bunyan, a significant theme relates to Paul’s superhuman abilities such as speed, strength, and skill. The story of Paul Bunyan is thought to have been circulating for quite some time before it was physically written down in 1910. Scholars believe that there were multiple tales about different people that eventually combined into one single person many people know as Paul Bunyan. While his story was traveling, America was expanding. More than a handful of states were officially becoming states, and the population was growing. There was a need for houses, lumber and space which is why the theme of labor was probably so popular. Paul was something to idolize; he was literally larger than life in everything that he did. The people who created the stories and made them popular most likely looked up to a character like him. Paul and his men were the best of the best and it was important that they could work quickly and efficiently.
Paul and his Axemen were the talk of the town. Each and every one of them had the strength of an ox, the speed of a cheetah and the height of the Redwood Forest trees. The townspeople were in awe and found it very entertaining to watch them. Paul and his Axemen, who are always up for a good friendly competition, decided to make something out of it. They decided to have a lumberjack competition to raise money for the camp. The day of the competition the people from far and wide showed up to witness this great event. Each of the eight men would have to chop down an entire forest in under five minutes, carry the logs back the starting point, build a log cabin out of the logs and eat 20 hot cakes the size of the Great Lakes. The first one to finish all the tasks before the others was to be known as the greatest lumberjack. Well Paul Bunyan chopped down his forest in under two minutes, carried back all the logs at the same time, built a log mansion and ate not 20 but 30 hotcakes. The townspeople were mesmerized and awarded him Greatest Lumberjack. And so the tradition began because each year after that the townspeople would host their own lumberjack competition among themselves to see who was the greatest lumberjack and could live up to the Paul Bunyan name.