Confusion on Tall Tales

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John Henry is very much a tall-tale.  The story is based on one or more real men, and it is a very extravagant tale. 
I don't really see the story as a social commentary... people tell stories all the time.  I don't really see it as something standing against society.
I don't think it's too simplistic to say it's about both technology and race.  While I don't see the basis of the story being about race, I can easily see the technology aspect since it is talking about different methods of building.  

This is very much like the DuBois readings for me... I may be the only person who had not heard of John Henry until reading this; regardless it is yet another thing I do not fully understand.

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL266/2009/11/traditional_joh/#comments

2 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

I see it as a social commentary.As early recruitment for labor. John Henry was an icon. Just like a mascot for a sport's team. Something that signifies the subject.

Jessica Apitsch said:

I agree with Jeremy in his belief that this is social commentary as it is s story about triumph for man kind, especially all men who suffered from inequalities. Black men during this time felt inferior to both man and technology and John Henry's tale supplied hope. Even today, we can hold onto this story for hope and strength today to make changes. Also, I agree with your point that his story is definitely about both race and technology, but the story does not stop there. John Henry was a man who was going up against the world he was living in. Therefore, his story and the songs written about him contained many elements of life.

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