URBAN LEGENDS by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen 1 Urban Legends, like Hip Hop and Rap Exhibit many features of Literature: They are dramatic, and play on such emotions as fear or embarrassment. They are filled with such rhetorical devices as Hyperbole (overstatement),
Antithesis, Symbolism, Irony, and especially Poetic Justice. They appear credible, because they are grounded in reality, and because they explain mysterious phenomena. They are also based on stereotypes and archetypes we see around us every day. They get our attention, because they are gross and sexual and scatalogogical and Titillating. And they are documented, because they always happened to a Friend of a Friend. They are therefore called FOAF tales. 2
YOU PROVIDE THE ENDINGS A man goes to a hotel with a beautiful, sexy woman he met at a party. They make mad, passionate love, after which he falls asleep. When he wakes in the morning, the woman is gone, but written in lipstick on the mirror is this message: Welcome to the world of AIDS.
3 The driver of a cement truck goes past his house at lunch time and sees a brand new car in the driveway. He is suspicious that his wife has a male visitor, so he sneaks up to the house and hears a mans voice. In anger, he backs his truck up to the new car and dumps in his lad of cement.
Later he learns that his wife has just purchased the new car for his birthday. (Nilsen & Nilsen 302) 4 On a cold and rainy night, a man sees a young woman standing at a bus stop with no coat and no umbrella. He stops and offers her a ride home, which she gratefully accepts. Because the two are so compatible and she
lives right on his way, he aranges to pick her up on a regular basis. But after a few evenings she isnt there. He goes to the house where he has been dropping her off and learns that 20 years ago she had been killed by a speeding car at that very bus stop. (Nilsen & Nilsen 303) 5 A vacationing husband takes off all his
clothes and is relaxing in the back of the camper while his wife takes a turn driving. When she stops suddenly, he jumps out to see what the trouble is. It is just a dog crossing the road, so the wife speeds off not realizing that she has left her naked husband behind. (Nilsen & Nilsen 303) 6
Tell us each of these urban legends: The Alligators in the Sewers The Baby on the Roof The Fifty-Dollar Thunderbird The Dog in the Oven The Second Blue Book The Baby and the Turkey 7
The Death of Little Mikey The Elephant That Sat on a VW The Finger in the Dogs Throat The Mickey Mouse Acid The Hairy-Armed Hitchhiker 8 The Manhattan White
The Phantom Hitchhiker The Purse in the Changing Room The Maniacs Hook The Stuck Couple 9 RUMORS: When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied: Because thats where the money is Mary Baker Eddy was buried with a telephone so she
could talk to the other side John Dillingers member is at the Smithsonian Institution Humphrey Bogart posed for Gerber baby picture Tobacco Companies own large marijuana plantations in South America 10 There are ground worms in McDonalds hamburgers Pop Rocks have exploded inside childrens stomachs Cigarette filters are made of ground glass
Some Girl Scout cookies are laced with hashish Procter and Gambel advertisers are Devil worshipers 11 and that Some Kentucky Fried Chicken is actually Peoples Fingers and that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola is cocaine.
12 TRUTH But the one about the Kentucky Fried Finger actually happened, but it was at Wendys and it was a customers finger. and its also true that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola used to be cocaine.
13 Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus 14 Three Blind Mice 15
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