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The Folk Heros of Occupational Groups

Although most people think immediately of Paul Bunyan as the great American folk hero of the working man, the fact is that Paul enjoyed very little, if any, status as a hero among lumberjacks. His story was not told among them, it was created by a logging company in Minnesota and lived on the printed page. As a result, Paul, and his lesser known analogues created for other occupations, served as great popular symbols of American economic expansion, but do not accurately reflect the life of the worker. The true folk heroes of occupational culture are to be found in the folk songs workers sing and in the stories they tell. Two distinct hero ...

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