The Place and The Function Of Folk Beliefs in Turkish Society Through Memduh Şevket Esendal’s Perspective
Kocaeli Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Bölümü, Kocaeli/ Türkiye
Keywords: Folk beliefs, social beliefs, personal beliefs, fortune, misfortune.
Folk beliefs as old as human history which have been seen as a solution for various psychological needs of people have been always integral part of Turkish society too. Memduh Şevket Esendal who picks up his subjects from the society gives a large place to folk beliefs in his stories. Although surveys begin to prove that urban, well-educated, modern people has also these kinds of beliefs, positive sciences which define them as superstitions evaluate them as baseless, irrational and empty thoughts and also have a pre-acceptance that these kinds of beliefs are widespread among traditional and uneducated people who live according to their ancestors’ tenets in rural districts. As a representative of modern Republican discourse Memduh Şevket Esendal also seems to share the same pre-acceptance about folk beliefs with science. Both, socially shared and personal beliefs are described in his stories and his attitude is more critical towards especially socially shared old beliefs and practices. Socially shared beliefs like vow, amulet, tomb, holy grave, magic and fortune-telling belong to generally rural and uneducated people in his stories. He tries to show that these beliefs lost their initial spirituality, now they serve for exploitation, not good and beauty and they harm family relations and society by malicious people. On the other hand, when generally baseless and irrational beliefs which prevent the person from thinking rationally are experienced one’s inner life, the author’s attitude becomes more tolerant. Beliefs which are formed around fortune or misfortune by the result of individual’s own experience also prevent the person from establishing an accurate cause and effect relationship between events. Nevertheless, while Memduh Şevket Esendal is telling these kinds of beliefs whose harm or benefit for just the person having them and make the person ease or anxious by affecting her/his psychology, uses sense of humor and becomes less judgmental. This article by analyzing the attitudes of Memduh Şevket Esendal towards social and personal beliefs claims that the real objection of him not for beliefs in the life as a cultural color but for transferring generation to generation without questioning of beliefs which take control of people lives, prevent them thinking rationally and damage them and the people around them by malicious people.