The Runaway Grandmother Analysis

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An urban legend, as defined by the Merriam –Webster dictionary, is an often a lurid story that is based on hearsay and widely circulated as true. According to Nicholas DiFonzo, a renowned author and psychology professor, urban legends are “narratives about strange, funny, or horrible events that could have happened, the details of which change to fit particular locales and time periods, and which frequently contain a moral lesson.” The stories are entertaining, include cultural references, and convey people’s anxieties about certain topics. While some consider urban legends as myths with a possibility of truth in it, these tales evolve to suit the common themes of the time.
In Jan Brunvand’s “The Runaway Grandmother,” he asserts the emotional tension when there is an unexpected death in the family. In this urban legend, an older woman usually a grandmother suddenly dies while on a family trip— a vacation abroad, a camping adventure, or a cross-border journey. The situation of having a dead body in an unfamiliar place troubles the other family members who then decide to wrap the unfortunate old woman with canvas or cloth and placed on top of their car. The climax of the story happens when while on a stop, the car is stolen together with the corpse. The family is relieved with the turnaround
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Dundes interpreted the story in an extreme way. It is more likely that the story presents the ugly realities of life, aging and death. People usually avoid these topics because they feel uncomfortable to discuss it. Aging is inevitable, unless one dies young. Death is a consequence of life. Death of a family member reminds us of our own mortality, that we have limited time on this
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