Paper Airplane


How to fold a paper airplane, supplied by CM:


CM is a male college student at USC. His relationship to the paper airplane is that he learned how to fold one when he was an elementary school, around second or third grade, from a fellow classmate. He reports that paper airplanes were used typically among boys in competitive games to see who could design a paper airplane that could travel the furthest. These types of games were usually played during the day at school, either during class or at recess.


This folk object, as an item of children’s folklore, serves as an emblem of social status, one constructed entirely within the social dynamic of school children, particularly of young boys. The instructions to create a paper airplane are not considered a part of most schools’ curriculum, meaning that most children are not creating these folk objects out of a directive from an authority. To be known as the boy who can construct the best paper airplane is to having a higher standing among your classmates. The paper airplane and the memory of how to make it is a relic of early competitiveness within the hierarchy of childhood.