Sitting at the Corner of the Table

Main Content:

M: Me, I: Informant

Corner of the Table 

I: Never sit in the corner of a table if the table is square because um because if you are in the corner you won’t get married, things like that.

M: Oh no, that’s really good! How come? What was the background of that? How come?

I: Oh, I don’t know

M: you can’t sit on the corner of a table

I: Yeah I don’t know what the background was, that’s just what they always told us.

M: Is it only for unmarried girls or is it for unmarried boys too?

I: It was just, well it was only told to us girls. I don’t remember it being told to the boys

M: Gotcha. Did you believe that? Did you believe that one?

I: Um.. you know because we were growing up in the United States, not so much, and at that age I really wasn’t interested in getting married. *Laughs*So. But I remember her saying it

Context: She was taught this by her Peruvian family, but she had immigrated to the U.S. so she didn’t really believe this one as her new environment affected her beliefs.

Analysis: While she herself may have not believed it, others in her family did. This is reflective of the views of marriage and gender. This was geared towards girls as back then much value came from being married and thus the fear of not getting married was prevalent, which is why some of the people in her family didn’t sit in the corners of tables, ‘just in case.’ Additionally, there may be some phallic reference (protrusion of the table) here as marriage and loss of virginity are often very linked and that’s possibly a consideration as to why this was only geared towards girls. With the phallic imagery, this folklore could also be a result of the culture’s importance of virginity; if the corner of the table was the phallic symbol and represented a deflowering prior to marriage, that would be the reason why she won’t get married later.