This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

What Are Urban Legends? Essay

1374 words - 6 pages

APS ISU – Urban Legends
What are Urban Legends?
How would one define an urban legend and what is it that differentiates it from other similar terms such as legends, myths and folklore? These terms tend to be group together, and for good reason considering they are all interrelated of each other as a means of storytelling.
A legend is established upon historic events but have a fictional component to them and possess great significance to the culture from where it was born. Examples include the legend of Robin Hood, who was an English outlaw that stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
A myth is characterised as being based upon a legend but achieves some symbolic meaning. The story is ...view middle of the document...

They are often told to be real life events and tend to have a darkness to them used to give a warning or tell a moral. Urban legends would more accurately be described as contemporary legends, since these legends tend to reflect upon the current time period and deal with real social issues.
The origins of urban legends are unknown and most are believed to have developed by rumours/ storytelling among a group of individuals. Some many have actually been sparked by a real event and been altered by personal interpretation to create the urban legends we know of today.
Urban legends tend to have a darkness to them used to give a warning or tell a moral. The study of this type of folklore is important since it is responsible for revealing the morals, beliefs and fears of the group of people or culture the story circulates within. The elements and storylines observed helps to give insight of the history and subconscious of the people.
Dr. Jan Harold Brunvand was one of the first people to study urban legends and was the one who coined the term “urban legend”. Before when they didn’t have very great significance and were referred to as mentioned, friend-of-a-friend stories or urban belief tales.
He began studying folklore and went to study urban legends further in-depth, in the 1950’s and collected research by interaction with people of all social circles, since internet hadn’t been invented yet. Though, he believes the internet plays a significant role today in spreading urban legends but he does not feel it is as appealing as the traditional means of situations like telling them around a campfire.
In the 1961, he began teaching a folklore course with the intent of showing students that folklore isn’t just all history rather they also existed in the present as urban legends. Turned out many students knew a few folklores themselves from their own social experience’s with others.
Urban Legends exist around the world and some are unique to their country of origin, but there are also overlapping variation of similarly told tales globally. Stories around the world also show stories that have similar underlying themes, and messages. This is likely due to the fact some social issues that people deal with are universal and have no national boundaries, thus there are some basic codes every sane person believes they have to abide by. Today, I will be looking at the urban legends of popular American and Japanese based, since they are the most wide-spread among those on the internet.
Urban Legend: Beauty
Urban Legend: Tanning Lotion
This draws to mind the question, what would a person be willing to sacrifice for beauty? I will now be looking at two case studies that deal with extreme cases of body modification to achieve beauty.
The obsession for beauty presents itself in many forms and others are more...

Find Another Essay On What are Urban Legends?

Urban Legends: Fact vs. "Fact" / Discusses various aspects of urban legends and the "facts" surrounding them

1620 words - 6 pages attains this status somehow gains "truthfulness," subscribed believers, and occasional media attention. But what causes these jokes or rumors to obtain such widespread belief? What determines the validity or fallacy of an urban legend, and how are the fictitious distinguished from the factual? These are just a few of the questions which arise in interpreting today's urban legends. While pin-pointing a single source of a particular urban legend is

Urban Legends on the Web Essay

1197 words - 5 pages Urban Legends on the Web Urban legends are fascinating to almost everyone, and it would follow that there would be many websites available for the discussion of them. A simple search turns up thousands of "hits" on the subject, so how do we know which ones to believe? A good research site will have detailed information explaining the confirmation or rejection of the legend. References must be cited, especially when a legend is being "proven

To Believe or Not to Believe, Modern Urban Legends

1474 words - 6 pages To Believe or Not To Believe Modern Urban Legends      Many people have heard the tale of the dotty grandmother who tried to dry off her damp poodle by placing it in the microwave oven. The dog exploded, sad to say the least , and Grandma has never been quite the same since. The story is not true; it is an urban legend, circulating by word of mouth since the 1970s (Brunvand, 108). Urban legends are popular stories

Essay On Urban Legends As A Narrative Genre

534 words - 2 pages Narrative genre of urban legends is a kind of oral folktale with the presence of a teller, telling the story. The teller separates certain characteristic of the story being told, recounting of events in chronological time. The teller now a days don't always have to be present in modern times, we see this through e-mail, someone spreading an urban legend, telling a story, recounting of events, and separating characteristic. Urban legends are

Psychological Aspects of Urban Legends

1603 words - 6 pages stories is that so many people believe them and pass them on. Why does an audience take the storyteller's word at face value, instead of recognizing it as an urban legend? The most significant reasons as to why this happens are how the story is told to an individual, the relationship between the teller and the listener, and in the case of horror legends, the fear invoked through the moral of the story.The particular elements of an urban legend

Historical background of nursury rhymes

957 words - 4 pages always exist. They play on the fear we all inhibit. They evoke much emotion, reaction and fascination. The contamination in urban legends may not always be of legitimate causes. Some fears are created from the simple unknown created in the mind. Whichever the cause, the outcome is the same. Fear of what threatens us will continually exist.

The Story of Black Aggie

1669 words - 7 pages The Story of Black Aggie Urban legends are the supernatural folklore of our modern society. From one generation to the next, they orally travel throughout the world, constantly changing from one region to the next. Although cultural variations exist, the core of all these urban legends remains the same, to unveil the universally known individual and societal fears. “The Graveyard Wager” is a timeless urban legend told again and again, and

Urban Legend of Cry Baby Bridge

956 words - 4 pages sex, such as homosexuality, drinking, smoking, and more. People begin to learn and see sex, alcohol and homosexuality during young adulthood. This is the same time when urban legends are most popular. Since so many people hearing the story share the fear of rejection, they are more interested and more likely to tell the story to others. In conclusion, the story displays young people’s fears surrounding premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, and

Urban Legends: Where did they come from? Fact or Ficton?

935 words - 4 pages Stacy Nadelberg10-13-02English 102-010Urban Legends: Where did they come from? Fact or Fiction?Everyone has heard an Urban Legend at one time in his or her life. What some wonder however is; are they fact or fiction? Everyone has heard the story of the girl whom had her insides fried from a tanning bed. How about the lady who ate at Taco Bell and then later found that a cockroach had got into her lip from a burrito and laid thousands of eggs

Ghost Story of Vietnam Veteran Haunting Lakewood, Ohio

1736 words - 7 pages Vietnam Veteran Haunting Lakewood, Ohio Perhaps some of the best stories told are classified as urban legends. Urban legends have become a part of culture, and a way to tell stories. They can tell us things about ourselves and about how we lead our lives. They serve to entertain us, but can also teach us lessons, such as morals to live by. Urban legends are passed on between generations, and become a part of the oral history of a place

Ghost Story of the Green Rat

1491 words - 6 pages tales, and leads to their spreading. Another part of the story that is a common motif in urban legends and folklore is what happens to the boy’s hair at the end of the tale (F1041.7 Hair turns gray from terror). The story itself is a “Legend Trip” as described by Ellis in his article “Adolescent Legend Tripping” in that the teenagers go to the house to test the veracity of the legend, only in this interesting case the legend-trip itself becomes

Similar Essays

What Are The Effects Of Marriage And Religion On African Americans In Urban America?

1248 words - 5 pages What are the Effects of Marriage and Religion on African Americans in Urban America? The last three decades have witnessed a “retreat from marriage” in the United States, marked by high rates of nonmarital births, lower rates of marriage, and divorce. Although a growing body of research on the retreat from marriage has focused on its social and economic causes, little attention has been paid to the role that cultural institutions play in

The Impact Of Urban Legends Throughout History And Around The World

1749 words - 7 pages The Impact of Urban Legends Throughout History and Around the World Urban legends have always intrigued me. I am unsure if it is the scare factor that intrigues me, the way in which some of them are told, or some of the lessons that are supposed to be taken from them but one thing I know for sure is that I do not stand alone in this belief. In fact urban legends are told all over the world, even in countries that many have never heard of

Urban Legends Essay

695 words - 3 pages stories are urban legends, any modern, fictional story, told as truth, that reaches a wide audience by being passed from person to person(Brian 1). What makes these stories popular, why are they told and retold, and what does this show about contemporary culture?First of all, what makes urban legends so popular? One reason is because these stories have a developed storyline. The story always happens somewhere to someone. This makes the story more

Literary Analtsis: Urban Leyends Essay

2373 words - 9 pages story is used as a tool of reflection.This urban legend utilizes our beliefs that the elderly are susceptible to death, cars are stolen, and that people often vacation in foreign places. The interesting story here relies on the element of surprise, with both the death of the grandmother and the theft of the car being unexpected. The message/moral implied shows what is perhaps one of the most symbolic and metaphorical urban legends currently