Legend Features

From the literary point of view, a legend is a popular story transmitted by oral tradition, which exposes the history of an event or character by appealing to the use of real and imaginary elements.

It has a set of characteristics that must be taken into account in order to distinguish it from other stories of oral tradition. Let’s see some of them.

Transmitted by oral tradition

Legends are stories that are passed down orally from one generation to another. This type of phenomenon is known as oral tradition. Although today there are many compendiums that have recorded the legends in writing, the origin of the legends is always oral.

They are based on an aspect of concrete reality

Legends arise from facts or characters that actually existed, and whose importance has given them a space in popular conversations, through which they acquire a legendary character.

Favors the introduction of fantastic elements

The fact that legends are transmitted orally from generation to generation favors that the story told acquires exaggerated features or that it is nourished by fantastic or wonderful elements that give meaning to the story.

They are an expression of a specific event or situation

Unlike the myths that make up a cosmogony or worldview, legends are associated only with specific events in the context of a given community.

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They fulfill a function in their context

It follows from the above that legends have a function within the community in which they appeared. The function can vary according to the needs. For example, the legend may have the function of warning the locals about exposure to unnecessary dangers at night. They can also leave a warning about the consequences of inappropriate behavior. Entertainment is also a function of the legend.

Its social effectiveness is circumscribed to its scope of appearance

For the above reason, the social efficacy of legends is circumscribed to the scope or context of their appearance. Thus, for example, legends about ghosts in the forest or the plains are only effective in those places and not in cities. However, city dwellers who visit rural towns can enter into the cultural dynamics of the legends while their stay is prolonged.