Legends
Narrative

Grandmother Theresa

During my JEP assignment, my group asked our second grade students to tell us scary stories that they had heard of outside of school. This story came from a student who told us of a personal ghost he has seen and heard about named Grandmother Theresa. He informed me that this is a ghost that lives in his house and watches over him to make sure he behaves well. He explained that Grandmother Theresa is a transparent ghost who floats around carrying a long stick—one side made of metal and one side with a pillow attached. He claims that if any children in the house are being really bad, Grandmother Theresa will hit you with the metal rod. If anyone is just being moderately bad, Grandmother Theresa will hit you with the pillow as a warning. He also told another student, who is notorious for causing ruckus in the class, that the ghost would come to his house too if he continued to behave poorly.

This student learned the story of Grandmother Theresa from his mother after he had behaved particularly badly and disrespectfully. He claims that since he has known about this scary figure, his behavior has improved. I believe that his mother told him this legend in order for him to behave better and understand that if he behaved poorly, he would be punished (without having to actually punish him). It is a cautionary tale in order to curb behavior. I think that this tactic has worked in the case of the student, for he has a large fear of this Grandmother Theresa figure. This student has tried to convince other students of the existence of this figure, especially because he claims to have seen her appear in his house to him before. I think this case shows how impressionable children are.

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