Jerz: Am Lit I (EL 266)

Discuss The John Henry Legend (posted 1 November 2004)" ?>


  • Wikipedia on John Henry
  • NPR's coverage: Present at the Creation

    On the above page, click on the audio icons to hear a news story and a recording of the ballad song, as well as the lyrics to one particular recording.

  • Read this early version of the song, and look at the four later versions that the site offers.

    On the above site, choose two versions of the song, and come to class with a one-paragraph statement that characterizes the textual differences between your chosen texts.

In what ways is the John Henry story a tall-tale? How is it social commentary? Is it primarily a story about technology, or about race? Is it too simplistic to say "both"?

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