“Panchatantra is a folktale comic book for kids created to teach morals and important life lessons. In one of the stories, there is a god/deity, who is disguised as a poor female street beggar. She goes to a rich family household and asks for food and money. They say no, so then she moves on to the village and goes to a poor couple’s house. The couple has like no food or anything but she asks for food and water. They give her one roti (which is like tortilla/bread) and water even though they had none for themselves. So then when the rich family and poor couple wake up, their lives are switched.
Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):
Informant said she got her Panchatantra from her aunt on her 4th birthday as a gift but it was very common and every kid owned it. Informant said that the story shows that no matter how much you have- a lot or a little- you should share with people. It teaches people to not be selfish and greedy.
Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):
It is read by kids as a comic book in India.
The Panchatantra is like Aesop’s fables. It is a good way to combine something fun and educational. It is not education in a literal or academic sense, but it is one way that India teaches kids how to be generous. It shows the values of the nation that cares about giving rather than receiving.
Jonathan “Scotty” Miller
March 16, 2012
Folklore Type: Joke
Informant Bio: Scotty is my good friend from high school. He is a twenty year old Sophomore and Physics major at the University of Houston. Everyone in my group friends is smart, but we have labeled Scotty as the super smart one among the boys because his major sounds the hardest. It is however extremely debatable as to whether or not this is true. Scotty is one of the nicest and calmest people I have ever met. His house is the one we always go to hang out.
Context: There was a group of four of us at Scotty’s house playing the latest version of Super Mario. I asked my friend Isaac about gaming lore, and then I asked Scotty about Comic Book lore as he is our comic book expert.
Item: No one in comics stays dead. One of the old sort of comic thing was like… I think it was like. You know Captain America, right? Well he had this side-kick named Bucky, but he died. They would say no one in comics stays dead except Jason Todd, Bucky and Uncle Ben. Jason Todd is one of the old Robins, but he died. But then they brought Jason Todd. So it was no one stays dead in comics except Bucky and Uncle Ben. Then they brought back Bucky so it was just no one stays dead in comics but Uncle Ben.
Informant Analysis: I don’t know comics are just kind of like ridiculous. They aren’t really any hard rules you know?
Analysis: This is a way for comic book lovers to laugh at their medium of entertainment. It is also a way to connect to each other through their medium that is usually read solitarily. For Scotty and probably other it is also a way to deal with and point out the fact that there are no rules for what they love to read. It is a medium that one just has to roll with its punches and randomness.
Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California
ANTH 333m Spring 2012