The Good Samaritan

JW:This is a story of the good Samaritan. So it goes, a Jewish man was riding to another town on a horse when a robber beat and robbed him. Two different men rode by him and did not help him and left him there to die. But, a Samaritan rode by him and helped. Jews and Samaritans do not get along but the Samaritan still helped the Jewish man. And that is the story of the good Samaritan.

Background:The informant is a 19 year-old Catholic woman who has been attending Catholic since she was five years old for eleven years. The informant appreciates this peace because it gives her a more positive outlook on life and inspired to continue to be a good person everyday. The informant learned it from her Catholic school teacher when she was a young child, approximately six years of age; to this day she continues to remember and share this story from her childhood. 

Context:The informant verbally performed the story to me at the The Ronald Tutor Center on the main USC campus. The context of the piece is the informants Catholic school performed by the informants teachers throughout the years. The informant provided this performance as the first piece of folklore that came to their mind when we began our conversation. 

My Reflection: This is a biblical myth as it relays lessons/creation stories and has sacred truth to the person that is introducing the story. stories from this genre act usually as a way to teach a lesson, fundamental truths or major themes of the religion through the biblical figures that are sometimes repeated throughout other biblical folklore. This example does align with the genre’s purpose as the story’s plot leaves the reader with a lesson of equality and kindness exemplified by the action of the Samaritan who despite the societal differences and conflict betweens the Jews and the Samaritans acted in compassion and humanity. The informant identifies as Catholic and is also African American and Japanese. The performance chosen and shared conveys their identity by highlighting how biblical lessons and stories stayed significant to them years after originally being told the story. It also shows how they apply these fundamental truths to their own life and what they value. The story also communicated the shared values and  viewpoints of the folklore group as a whole, although others in the group may apply the lesson to different aspects of their life the main message remains consistent. For those who may have attended Catholic school and no longer identify with the religion and/or had negative experiences with the religion the story may not reflect the more positive lesson of the plot but may highlight the hypocrisy that tends to come with religious rhetoric. Although the lesson in the story is rooted in religion I think that one of the reasons that the story continues to be passed down aside from shared religious beliefs is the universality of the lesson as most will agree that kindness, compassion and equality should be taught and valued.