1. In a complex world where "truth" and "facts" are increasingly vital, what is the importance of folklore and legend in society? Support your answer. Answers will vary.
Facts, on the surface, are the most useful commodities we have in order to make educated guesses and sound decisions about direction in life. However, facts by their very nature can only explain particular aspects of the known world. Although there is no evidence for the exploits of Nancy Hart, that doesn't mean they didn't happen. Folklore allows us to fill in the blanks with a sort of "placeholder" until more verifiable evidence comes along. In this way, folklore serves an important function even to people obsessed with facts. Folklore is also a record of the prevailing culture of the times, and says much about the people who pass down traditions from one generation to the next. What is an indisputable fact is the hold that the legend had, and continues to have, on the people of Hart County. It has been a source of controversy and wonder for nearly 200 years. Even if evidence never comes along to confirm the legend of Nancy Hart, we can always sit back and enjoy the mystery. Mysteries compel us to keep exploring our world, and they keep the past very much alive.
2. Explain the reasons why the story/legend of Nancy Hart has been treated with skepticism. Think of other legends you know about and explain how they came to be legends – not necessarily true.
Even though pioneer women such as Nancy Hart were hardy, knew how to shoot, clean and cook rabbits, possums, and deer, chew and spit tobacco, holler, sew, build a fire, etc., they were not always known for killing six men. They might have made her mad, but for her to be able to hold at least four of them at bay until her husband and son could help her hang them is somewhat far-fetched, but not totally unbelievable. It might seem to be a stretch by our standards, but not in those days of backwoods Georgians, having to live off the land and not being near their neighbors. Students might have legends they would like to talk about – not necessarily Georgia legends.