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Lecture 3

ENG215 Lecture 3.docx

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Department
English
Course Code
ENG215H1
Professor
Sarah Caskey

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ENG215 Lecture #3 9/18/2012 10:04:00 AM Oral Storytelling -Thomas King: “The truth about stories is that‟s all we are.” - (author?): “You can‟t understand the world without telling a story. There isn‟t any centre to the world but a story.” - Importance of writing to express something important about oneself  the need and urge to tell a story  Bread: intimacy of “I” narrative and then personal incidents in her life (first sexual experience, marriage, miscarriage, etc.) - Brian Boyd, a literary critic: provides a lot of scientific and clinical evidence to suggest why we tell stories  Says that is burdensome to tell ourselves continually the story of ourselves – and asks why we would tell anyone the story of our lives?: sharing information that we can glean from our own efforts have been a major incentive for social life  Stories do this: they help train us to explore possibility as well as actuality – effortlessly and even playfully - and that capacity makes all the difference in our humanity  Idea that through stories we explore actuality and possibility (the fictional part of narratives) - Harry Robinson: admits that stories are central to who he is, how he defines himself, how he thinks of himself  born in 1900 in a small village in south-central BC  long time rancher  saw himself as one of the last storytellers of his people  grew up listening to stories, especially those from his grandma  increasingly came to realize the importance of the story-telling tradition not only to himself but to his wider community  devoted much of the later part of his life to telling and retelling these stories – by the mid 70s, could even do so in English  crosses paths with Wendy W, an ethnographer  worried about the survival of the oral tradition of his stories – partly this recognition of his mortality that prompted him to allow Wendy to record his stories “Coyote Tricks Owl” - appearance on the page is what both Wendy and Harry agreed on – as an appropriate way to record the oral story on the page  intended to capture the rhythmic pattern of Robinson‟s oral storytelling - intimacy that is conveyed between the storyteller and the implied listener  storyteller frequently checks for understanding (“see?” “alright?” - use of repetition – common in oral storytelling - exaggeration – another common feature of oral stories - humor – another element that seems to underscore the performative aspect of oral storytelling  a way to engage the audience - Robinson was concerned that his stories would die with him – hence he allowed Wendy to record him - what is lost?  possibility for retelling or revising – which can change according to the audience‟s reaction (Extend or enrich certain parts of the story)  when the story is written down, it‟s stable but also trappable and unable to change - what emerges from this story, are some of the features of storytelling that Robinson promoted throughout his life  storytelling is an important social and comical act  storytelling as an explanation of how something came to be  his sense that stories could be a source of pleasure, entertainment, and humor  storytelling is as much an art form as it is a performance  stories contains a lesson ”owl was bad and big and he killed people, so coyote punishes people”  critically, the story also highlights the importance and power of the storyteller and the story itself - while coyote derives some of his or her power from shape-shifting/being unstable, he or she also derives power from language  words are coyote‟s weaponry  coyote realize that owl is bad and her powers are too strong, and then coyote tells owl what to do (the verbal act of telling is where coyote gets his or her power) o source of coyote‟s power is the ability to tell a lie (a story/fiction)  that he‟s just going along with owl to kill people too (pg. 71?) o p. 72  “to fool”  phrasing  part of coyote‟s strength o end of the tory – it‟s summed up as being coyote‟s exercise in seeing and telling him what to do  pg. 76  “you can…”  importance placed on judging but then telling what they should do – rhetoric: way in which his use of words are a powerful influence -power of language also extends to the listener  ex. Parents are invited to use this story to scare their children - story emphasizes the importance of the storyteller and the words he or she sues – and by extension its really where coyote garners his power (Esp. in relation to owl) - Professor J. Edward Chamberlin: wrote a book entitled If This is Your Land, Where are Your Stories?  makes the case that stories tell us who were are  title: land are a repository where these stories take place or are embedded/metaphorically housed in the land  implying that ownership doesn‟t come from paper but from stories and experiences  relying on lived experience; if you had lived there, stories would be part of that deeper experience  idea that stories can hold us together but also keep us apart – can mention things we share but also our differences o connected by the stories but also separated by their different truths Coyote Goes West - Thomas King - can see him as being in direct conversation with Robinson in the exchange between their two stories  literary antecedents, and how they might have informed the other  King has openly acknowledged that Robinson‟s stories have been influential to his work as an author  said that Robinson transformed his own storytelling techniques by showing that oral ways of telling stories can be used as written fiction  his style also relies on the mimicking of oral storytelling - p. 303  not an identical emphasis on lines of verse but a similar representation of storytelling  doesn‟t have the same fidelity to traditional punctuation and complete sentence structures, but rather more fidelity to spoken speech habits and aimed at representing that on the page -like Robinson, also employs the Coyote – the Native trickster figure - from there, King engages in his own kind of play  the story begins with an emphasis that mischief is everywhere – the world is getting bent o King aims to create his own mischief and bent in the story  Coyote‟s trickiness extends to King‟s own han
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