Date of Graduation

Spring 2013


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in English



Committee Chair

Martha Gholson


folklore, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, folklore and literature

Subject Categories



Mark Twain has been a substantial figure within both the Literature and Folklore fields, yet very little has been done which utilizes the expertise of both fields to establish and understand what Twain's ultimate purpose in utilizing folklore was in his novels. There can be no doubt as to the use of folklore within his texts; there is a substantial amount- everything from superstitions and beliefs to local proverbs and sayings- but what is the purpose behind including the lore? This thesis compares the folklore and folklore-like elements found in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer with documented lore of the Mississippi River and Ozark regions and delineates how the folklore within the novels serves to enhance plot structure and character development. It is concluded that the folklore found in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer is firmly rooted within documentable regional lore. However at times, Twain did, indeed, make changes. While the changes remove Twain's examples of lore from the living tradition of his region, they do not harm the essence of the regional beliefs being portrayed within the context of the novel, but rather act as an enhancement to the novels plot, character development, and representation of region.


© Genevieve Mercedes Vallentine

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