Leedu laste õudusjutud

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Estų kalba / Estonian
Leedu laste õudusjutud
Alternative Title:
Lithuanian children's horror stories
In the Book:
Tulnukad ja internetilapsed : uurimusi laste-ja noortekultuurist / koostanud ja toimetanud Eda Kalmre. Tartu: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumi Teaduskirjastus, 2010. P. 49-70. (Tänapäeva folkloorist ; 8)
Vaikų anekdotai; Šiurpės; Siaubo istorijos; Legendos.
Children's lore; Fear; Horror story; Legend.
Summary / Abstract:

ENA horror story is a contemporary genre of children's lore. The genre has existed for almost two hundred years in various countries and emerged in Lithuania during the second half of the twentieth century. The main themes of horror stories and their parodies are international. It is evident that Lithuanian children's horror stories are of foreign origin, as they are mainly direct translations from Russian; also, Lithuanian and Russian horror stories share the same subjects and characters. Research into the genre has been carried out in a number of countries for quite some time, while in Lithuania the initiative was taken up only recently. The major goal of this paper is to introduce Lithuanian children's horror stories, describe their form and contents, and explain how the stories are spread. Storytellers and listeners, seven-to-twelve-year-old children, do not question the truthfulness of horror stories and call them 'real', 'scary and 'spooky. Horror stories are not only retold among children but are also narrated in virtual reality. Fans of the genre join online sites where they tell stories, share experiences, and even compete in creating the scariest story or writing down the greatest number of these. Stories told orally and on the Internet differ in some respects. Some horror stories may be found on more than one website and contain the same grammatical and stylistic mistakes. Some of them are altered in minor details. Texts posted on websites are usually longer than the stories children tell orally. The horror effect in online stories is also achieved by the use of various visual aids. Black and red colours predominate in texts that are illustrated with drawings or images of cruel murders and blood pools. The language of orally recounted stories is less complex; the attention is focused on contents rather than form.Researchers have discussed reasons behind the existence and popularity of children's horror stories. The stories appear to be reflections of various children's fears which are a result of their vivid imagination, receptivity to the social environment, unrealistic judgement of reality and inability to distinguish between the real and the imaginary. Horror stories are meant to arouse fear, an emotion which gives children a kind of satisfaction accompanied by emotional catharsis. Children's horror stories are rich in mythological and folkloric motifs which originate in archaic beliefs and traditional genres of folklore. Characters in both children's horror stories and belief legends face an alien and dangerous mythical world. Some horror stories have traits characteristic of urban legends and children's magic spells. Nevertheless, children's horror stories are a detailed representation of the socio-cultural life of the twentieth century. The world in children's horror stories is schematic and primitive with two main conflicting groups of characters, the good and the evil. Positive characters are usually represented by members of a family: father, mother, brother, sister, sometimes a grandparent. The evil to be feared may come from children's environment. Characters are often threatened by their toys such as dolls or teddy bears, or items of clothing such as ribbons, dresses, shoes or gloves. Paintings, statuettes, pianos or other items found in every home may also cause fear in a horror story. Devils and witches which are prominent figures in folklore, as well as the world of the dead, are often the source of fear. Characters in horror stories are often visited by corpses of the deceased, vampires, ghosts and skeletons. A very popular attribute related to the world of the dead is a black coffin.The most peculiar evil character in horror stories is a strangling hand which may occasionally be replaced by black or white gloves. Other body parts, eyes, teeth, heads or hoofs are very rarely mentioned in Lithuanian children's horror stories. Murders are very frequent and are often commit ted by humans, especially women. Even a mother may become a murderer. Though sometimes a murderer may be unidentified and only the fact of a murder is mentioned. The chain of events in many stories is triggered by the death of a family member or by adults who leave children unattended followed by breaking of some rule. Then a murderer appears and a massacre takes place. While telling horror stories children pass on a commonly known message: adults and especially parents must be obeyed. Horror stories are also a materialisation of the parents' warnings of possible dangers and of reports on criminal activities heard on television news. Yet children are not always to be blamed for disasters and deaths in horror stories, as these occur only when the parents are not present. Preoccupied parents often leave their children under a nanny's supervision, do not have time to listen to their children and do not help them in overcoming the fear of darkness, loneliness and existence of supernatural creatures. The effect of a horror story is often strengthened by unexpectedly shouting a phrase related to a story, at the same time grabbing an intensely listening friend. The most popular phrase in Lithuanian children's horror stories is „Give me your heart!" [...]. [From the publication]

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2022-03-03 13:10:45
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