Bloody Mary in the mirror: a comparative examination of a living tradition

Winter, Laura (2015) Bloody Mary in the mirror: a comparative examination of a living tradition. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis is a cultural analysis of Bloody Mary, which exists simultaneously as legend, ostension, folk drama, maturation ritual, a demonstration of social hierarchy within a folk group, and various types of play. I investigate Bloody Mary through the lens of each of these genres, exploring retrospective narratives from adults and teenagers, in addition to narratives collected from contemporary school children. Included in these groups are women who attended Catholic school in the 1980s and consider themselves “cultural Catholics,” adults who grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland during the 1980s but did not attend Catholic school, high school students from a small community just outside of St. John’s, and contemporary schoolaged children. Building upon the research of Langlois, Dundes, Tucker, Ellis, Armitage and with consideration given to Sutton-Smith’s rhetorics of play, the present investigation analyzes the function of Bloody Mary to each group of informants, extracting elements of similarities and variants that could be conceptualized through a table of structural elements in order to show mutations over time, geography and cultural groupings (such as religion and age). This comparative, cross-cultural examination of contemporary usages and functions of Bloody Mary frames it as living, dynamic folklore and an important aspect of children’s folklore/childlore.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8392
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 157-162).
Keywords: Bloody Mary, Children's Folklore, Supernatural Play, School Folklore, Cultural Catholicism, Bishop Feild School
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Folk drama, American--Cross-cultural studies; Folklore and children; School children--Social life and customs; School children--Religious life

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