The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23981   Message #1508356
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
23-Jun-05 - 06:22 PM
Thread Name: History: Tom Dooley didn't kill Laura Foster?!?
Subject: RE: Tom Dooley didn't kill Laura Foster?!?
if you're suggesting a squashed up hurried grave then the verse would have conveyed that.

I think it exactly conveyed that. The size of the grave gives no indication of Laura's size--although if she was a big gal, say six feet, I suppose she wouldn't fit in four feet even "folded up". But even if she was a diminutive woman, it's no proof that she was underage.

And The clue has to be in the verse...no point in making it otherwise.

The motivation of a song originator in writing it a certain way is often (not to say usually) a mystery. That language can be seen as interesting in itself, or a fill-out of the scansion and/or rhyme scheme, or merely reflecting a fact of the case that was known (if it is a fact that was known), just to fill out the story with every detail known.

"The clue" supposes that there is reason to expect a clue about her age to be in the song. As if the song is incomplete without that detail. If the writer really wanted us to know that she was, say, thirteen, he could have told us so, and didn't. No reason to think he'd just hint at it with "the clue".

Dave Oesterreich