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Lecture

1 - oral storytelling.odt

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Department
English
Course
ENG215H1
Professor
Sarah Caskey
Semester
Winter

Description
Lect 3 – Oral Storytelling January 15, 2013. • Both authors claim stories as extremely important • Thomas King: “the truth about stories is that that's all we are” • “there isn't any centre to the world but a story” • writer of Bread: I'm not a person to speak much about emotions...my writing reveals much more about how I feel ◦ Bread is a testament to the power revelation of a first person revelation • Boyd, an anthropologist – sharing more info than we can glean on our own trains us to explore actuality and possibility; develop social awareness through stories • J. Edward Chamberlin (If This is Your Land, WhereAre Your Stories?) ◦ we all have stories that hold us in thrall and hold others at bay. What we share is the practice of believing, which we become adept at very early in our lives; and it is this practice that generates the power of stories ◦ white officials claimed ownership to land, an aboriginal elder asked: “if this is your land, where are your stories?”, and then told a story in his own language ◦ “stories make the world more real, more rational, by bringing us closer to the irrational mystery at its centre. Why is there so much suffering in the world? Whose land is this we live on? How much is enough?” ◦ our written culture – schools, hospitals etc – are strongly based on a kind of highly formalized oral traditions; and oral cultures have all kinds of written activities present ▪ the hierarchy we perceive between oral and written is false Why are stories important? • Identities are constructed through the telling of stories ◦ especially important for indigenous writers – to be able to tell your own story is empowering and politically significant • Engagement between readers Harry Robinson • born in 1900, grew up in a small village • long time rancher • saw himself as the last storyteller of his ppl • spent long times with his grandma and other elders to hear all the stories • wanted to preserve this narrative tradition • died 1990 • 3 collections through collaboration with Wendy Wickwire Writing Style • demands to be read with rhythm and oral infliction • lots of repetition ◦ function of oral storyteller – repetition ensures the listeners understands, and stresses important points ◦ voice has a personality • liberty taken with grammar ◦ gives cues to a dramatically appropriate reading of Harry Robinson's voice • shape-shifting, looseness of gender • at the end, realize it's a story told to children • represents the colloquialism, yet also reminds us that we are missing the actual oration • story as entertainment, performance, conveying a lesson (didactic), importance and power of storytelling ◦ Robinson grasps the power of the storyteller – to control and manipulate the narrative The Coyote • shape-shifter • words as power ◦ coyote good with words ◦ “tell them what they should do” ◦ power comes from a lie – verbal structure gives him agency over owl in the storyt ▪ I eat people too etc (pg 71) ▪ (pg 72) Thomas King • Cherokee and Greek descent • Raised in California • Later worked in New Zealand andAustralia • Then moved to Canada to work in an university • as a writer, driven to “recreate the world” • novel Medicine River in 1989 – explores Matee identity • Has problem with the idea that the European settlement and invasi
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