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Urban Legends Research Papers

"Stories” known as urban legends, are told as if they are true when in fact they are not. Paper Masters custom writes research papers on urban legends and applies them to any type of sociology or culture project you need.

Folklorists first adopted the term “urban legend” in the 1970’s to describe the untrue or unverifiable rumors and stories that spread like fire from person to person. Despite the modern term “urban”, urban legends are not a recent occurrence. In his book, Urban Legends, N.E. Genge reports that urban legends are a form of folklore that have been around since Socrates and, in modern times, they fill the role that fairy tales, parables, and grapevines have had in the past.

Urban Legends

While there are many different types and variations of urban legends, there are some common characteristics between the stories.

  • In urban legends, the veracity of the story is not as important as the message of the story.
  • Urban legends are similar to Aesop’s fables in which a lesson can be learned from the story.
  • Beyond a moral, urban legends prey on worries or fears we have as a society, and are used as warnings.

The used syringe in the age of AIDS is an example of that. But whether the story offers a moral or a warning, the details are secondary to the message. “Legends grow based on their emotional impact, on the lessons the audience believes they’ve taken from the story,”.

Another characteristic is in the details, or lack of details, provided in the story. Often stories are told as “a friend of a friend of a friend of mine…” which, seems to add credibility. Further, generalized details such as the town or location, or a specific brand are given. At the same time, urban legends fail to provide specific details required to actually trace the story. Despite the bizarre and terrifying nature of many of the legends, there are always gaps in the details. For example, specific names and the actual time that the event occurred are rarely provided. This goes unnoticed except by those who attempt to track down the origins of the story. Urban legends offer enough details that make them plausible but fail to offer proof. Nevertheless, the power of the legend is in its plausibility.

One last characteristic is that many tales draw their punch line from irony. The story about how the Marlboro man died of lung cancer and the Coppertone model got skin cancer are examples of this irony. Another famous ironic legend is that Charles Drew, the African-American who created the blood-bank system died outside a hospital for white people that refused to treat him. These ironic urban legends not only teach important lessons such as don’t smoke; they also provide social statements such as black people, even the ones who helped society, have been treated poorly.

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