In chapter 39 of the textbook, the author discusses the idea of Mother Goose: “In our culture, we associate fairy tales with Mother Goose, an old woman who was supposed to have been their originator”. The author names a list of women who have been associated with Mother Goose but does not seem to come to any specific conclusion to her identity. The fact is, even is she was a real figure, most people assume her a myth. If you type Mother Goose in on Google images you will find either a sweet old woman with glasses and a bonnet riding a goose, or an actual goose in similar garb.

Upon reading this passage, I could not help but connect this legend of Mother Goose with that of Homer. Like Mother Goose, the origins of Homer are debatable. In fact, the existence of Homer is questionable if not completely false. It is interesting to note that these two legendary figures have been labelled the originators of stories that are ultimately products oral tradition and therefore cannot really have a single originator.

Both Grimm Tales and Homeric epics serve similar purposes to their respected cultures (insight into societal morals, expectation and history) and have undergone multiple modern adaptations. Connections such as these make sense. This is what out course all about.

So what I am wondering is why the creation of these two “mythical” figures. Why did epics and fairy tales require an originator? Do these figure simply mark the recoding and thus end of an oral tradition? Can they tell us something about their contemporary societies?

I would love to hear your thoughts!


3 thoughts on “Mother Goose vs. Homer

  1. As a society we need to relate to a point of view or a new idea to understand it. And, the easiest way to do that is to focus on an identity that we can imagine creating this idea or viewpoint. That way we can respond to a person and put it in familiar terms that is easy to discuss, explain and relate to. How can you debate an anonymous ‘concept’? But, we all know how to critique someone else’s concept, opinion, idea etc.

  2. This is a really good observation on the comparison between Homer and Mother Goose that I had never thought of. I certainly think these legends tell us much of the origins of their culture because like all oral myths, they get passed on from generation to generation.

  3. I think its interesting that the Mother Goose is the creator of all(?) fairytales. Her role as the mother goose is also interesting as it is influential on the society. Through storytelling, women are able to take their place in society on their own terms, because their fascinating stories can’t be passed up, even by those who disapprove of them.

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