39 pages 1 hour read

Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead

Bob

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2018

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Background

Literary Context: Fairy Tale and Folklore Tropes

As it blends realism with elements of fantasy, Bob relies on familiar tropes found in many fairy and folk tales. Indeed, the fictitious book that explains that Bob is a well dweller, Fairy and Folk Tales From A to Z, positions the novel to be read in the context of fairy tales.

Folk tales and fairy tales differ in that the former is historically an oral tale, while the latter is written and crafted in the manner of literature. Both are present in all cultures, and many date back to early human language. As folk tales are orally transmitted, their content shifts and changes upon each retelling, evolving the tale over time. One of the better-known types of folk tale is the fable, in which the conflict leads characters to a moral lesson. The lesson may impact the character’s community or the culture at large (Hansen, William. “Folktale.” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2017).

Fairy tales are known for their otherworldliness, with tropes that rely heavily on the imagination. Magic is frequently a key element in the fairy tale’s fantastical plot, and ordinary items can become infused with magical abilities.

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