Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Post #10: African Folktales

     Dr. Ochieng's lecture on African folktales was very interesting and provided a deeper insight into the tradition of storytelling.  Many folktales are told orally in Africa, and usually during the nighttime when work is done and when you can concentrate only on the story itself without all the other distractions.  Both African folktales and the tales we have read in class tell us something about the history of where it came from.  For example, many of the African folktales involved animals as characters.  This would make sense because Africa was full of many different animals that would have been in Africans' lives.  Both African tales and the ones we have read in class sometimes share a character who is witty and clever.  Like in the Bluebeard tales, the women outsmart their murderous husbands and are able to get away from them.  In one of he African tales Dr. Ochieng told us, a monkey outsmarted a shark who was going to eat him by saying he didn't have his heart with him and had to go back for it.  This also demonstrates a difference between African folktales and the tales we have discussed in class.  Many African tales teach you why something came about or explains something else.  In that same monkey and shark story, the ending explains why monkeys don't swim, which is that they're afraid the sharks will eat them.  Many of the stories Dr. Ochieng told us ended with him saying, "And that is why..." so-and-so came about or "And that is how..." jealousy or some other trait developed.  The stories we have been reading in class are mostly just simple entertaining stories.

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