The analysis of motifs in folktales from Kerala India the reflection of belief and folk life

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Cholticha Homfung


Folktales are the material culture that arises from imagination. Folktales can reflect the system of thinking, belief, folklife, and culture of people. This paper is part of the full research titled “The Development of Creative Learning Activities by Applying the Motif for Enhancing the Concept about Motif in Folktale, Creative Writing Abilities and Develop Students' Abilities in the 21st Century.” The objectives of this paper are 1) to analyze the folktales from Kerala, India by focusing on motif, and 2) to analyze the reflection of beliefs and folklife in the folktales. The scope of the information is the folktales which were collected in May, 2019. In studying, the content analysis was used for the main methodology. The results revealed that 1) the motifs from Kerala folktales can be categorized into three groups: that which were about God, supernatural things, and miracles; that which were about status, habit or the behavior of people, and animals that act like a human being; and that which were about the truth of life. The result also revealed that 2) reflections in the folktales can be divided into three beliefs and four groups of folklife. For the belief, they were about Hindu Gods, the supernatural power of the Odiyan, and Chinese jar, which serves as a symbol for good luck. About the folklife, they were about the land of coconut trees, the relationship between the elephant and human being, and the agricultural society, which was intertwined by nature and water-way transportation. The results of the study also showed that every folktale were full of motifs that reflect the beliefs and the cultures of societies. So, the motifs through the folktales can be considered a medium for people to gain cross-cultural understanding.


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Homfung, C. (2020). The analysis of motifs in folktales from Kerala India: the reflection of belief and folk life. Journal of Human Sciences, 21(1), 9-33. Retrieved from
Research Articles


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