Degree Name

BA

Department

English

College

Humanities

Defense Date

2022-03-16

Publication Date

2022-03-25

First Faculty Advisor

Eric A. Eliason

First Faculty Reader

Christopher Blythe

Honors Coordinator

Aaron Eastley

Keywords

supernatural, legend, folk group, interpretation, folklore

Abstract

A range of interpretations can characterize supernatural legends as religious or non-religious—or somewhere in between. Religious audiences quickly categorize supernatural religious legends as such, but they hesitate when interpreting supernatural non-religious legends and supply multiple interpretations. Folk group paradigms influence these interpretations, and a variety of factors in turn influence which paradigms are used. The most important of these factors is a hierarchy of folk groups, which each individual has uniquely created and to which they refer when interpreting stories and experiences. When the most important of these folk groups fails to fully interpret a narrative, individuals will use folk groups lower in the hierarchy. Individuals can apply multiple folk groups simultaneously.

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