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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 8 - Tall Tales

Tall Tales

What will we be learning today?

    1. We will be learning the definition of a tall tale.
    2. We will learn how tall tales began.
    3. We will be learning about characteristics of tall tales.

Definition of Tall Tales

    1. Tall tales are made up stories that were very popular among American settlers in the early 1800's.
    2. They are a type of folktale.
    3. They are about the adventures of bigger - than - life characters who have amazing abilities such as super human strength or speed.
    4. As the stories were retold the details became more and more fantastic.

How Tall Tales Started

    The people who settled the American wilderness had lots of problems when they moved into a wild, unsettled land and began to do new jobs.

    1. Crossing deserts and mountains was dangerous and took courage.
    2. Accidents and diseases killed many people.
    3. Native American tribes were not friendly and didn't like settlers moving onto their lands.
    4. The weather could be very bad and very unpredictable.
    5. They had to work very hard.

How Tall Tales Started

    The settlers had two choices :

    1. Quit and go home.
    2. Deal with the problems.

    One way they learned to deal with their hard life was by making up and
    telling funny stories about super human heroes and heroines. It made
    life a little more fun and a little easier.

How Tall Tales Started

  • Sometimes the stories were about real people.
  • Sometimes they were about made up characters.

    As the stories were told over and over again the things the characters did were more and more exaggerated, and the stories got more and more fantastic.


Characteristics of Tall Tales

    1. Hyperbole. The story has many exaggerations in it. The main character has a problem he/she must solve.
    2. The main character is bigger than life and has super-human abilities.
    3. The plot of the story is funny and impossible.
    4. The main character solves the problem, overcomes an obstacle and/or defeats a bad guy.
    5. The story has lots of action.
    6. Setting. The story is usually about a hero from a particular region of the country.

Let's Review What We Learned Today!

    1. Tall tales are exaggerated stories about heroes and heroines from a particular region.
    2. Tall tales are a type of folktale that started in America.
    3. People started telling tall tales as a way to deal with all the problems they faced in their everyday lives as they moved west to new jobs and new homes.
    4. The main character is a super hero who defeats a bad guy or solves a problem.
    5. The events in tall tales are funny and could not really happen.
    6. The story has lots of action.

  • You will read/listen to a tall tale called Flapjack Frenzy, filling in the graphic organizer as you go.