Understanding Oral Traditions

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Understanding Oral Traditions Powered By Docstoc
					 Understanding Oral
Traditions in Literature
                  Achebe says:

“I believe in the complexity of the human story,
   and that there‟s no way you can tell that story
   in one way and say, „this is it.‟ Always there will
   be someone who can tell it differently
   depending on where they are standing … this is
   the way I think the world‟s stories should be
   told: from many different perspectives.”
  (“Chinua Achebe: The Art of Fiction
  CXXXVIV,” interviewed by Jerome Brooks in
  The Paris Review, Issue #133 (Winter 1994-5)
If Achebe thinks people should have an open
   mind about who tells the world‟s stories and
   how, what kind of viewpoint might he take
   on the variety of literary strategies that could
   be incorporated in the ways people tell
   stories??

Share with your neighbor. 1 minute!
 Another quote from Achebe….

"Since Igbo people did not construct a rigid
  and closely argued system of thought to
  explain the universe and the place of man in
  it, preferring the metaphor of myth and
  poetry, anyone seeking an insight into their
  world must seek it along their own way.
  Some of these ways are folk tales, proverbs,
  proper names, rituals, and festivals" ("Chi in
  Igbo Cosmology" 161).
                 Oral Elements Log
Chpt.           Example                    Type of          Relevance
                                           Element
        The lizard that jumped from the   proverb    Okonkwo feels that since he has
  3     high iroko tree to the ground
        said he would praise himself if
                                                     no one to speak for him, he has to
                                                     speak for himself.
        no one else did.
Let‟s start with proverbs…




(Remember the video?
Knowledge is like the baobab tree. No one can
encompass it with both hands.
That‟s a Senegalese PROVERB!)
         From Things Fall Apart…
A proverb about proverbs!!!

  Among the Igbo the art of conversation is
  regarded very highly, and proverbs are the
  palm-oil with which words are eaten (7)

We‟ll get some practice translating proverbs later. But, as one of the more
  popular quotes from the book, what are your initial thoughts on what
  this proverb means?
   So, what are proverbs exactly?
(no, we‟re not talking about the type of word
  you can substitute for a verb or a noun)
   1) Write this down!

Proverbs are popular
sayings which contain
   advice or state a
  generally accepted
        truth.
  Because most proverbs have their origins in oral
  tradition, they are generally worded in such a way
  as to be remembered easily and tend to change
  little from generation to generation, so much so
  that sometimes their specific meaning is no longer
  relevant.



• For instance, the proverb “penny wise, pound
  foolish” is a holdover from when America was a
  British colony and used the pound as currency.
Proverbs function as “folk wisdom,” general
advice about how to act and live. And because
they are folk wisdom, they often strongly reflect
the cultural values and physical environment
from which they arise.


– For instance, island cultures such as Hawaii have
  proverbs about the sea, Eastern cultures have
  proverbs about elephants, and American proverbs,
  many collected and published by Benjamin Franklin,
  are about hard work bringing success.
    2) Write this down!

Proverbs are often used to
  support arguments, to
    provide lessons and
 instruction, and to stress
       shared values.
        Proverbs are NOT clichés
Clichés are widely used, even overused, phrases that
are often metaphorical in nature. Clichés often
have their origins in literature, television, or
movies rather than in folk tradition.

Some Common Clichés
She was white as a sheet.
The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
He stood as still as a deer in the headlights.
I‟m as fit as a fiddle.
You could read her like an open book.
Some Common Features of Proverbs
• Proverbs are passed down through time with little change
  in form.

• Proverbs are often used metaphorically and it is in
  understanding their metaphorical nature that we can
  unravel their meaning. While “a stitch in time saves nine,”
  “don‟t count your chickens before they‟ve hatched,” and
  “don‟t throw the baby out with the bathwater” are
  common proverbs, few of us stitch clothes, count
  chickens, or throw out bathwater.

• Proverbs often make use of grammatical and rhetorical
  devices that help make them memorable, including
  alliteration, rhyme, parallel structure, repetition of key
  words or phrases, and strong imagery.
    A few American proverbs you might
            be familiar with…
•   Don't put all your eggs in one basket. • A fool and his money are soon
•   Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. parted.
•   The early bird gets the worm.            • Birds of a feather flock together.
•                                            •
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Don‟t count your chickens before
•   A stitch in time saves nine.                 they‟ve hatched.
•   A penny saved is a penny earned.         • One today is worth two tomorrows.
•   Penny wise, pound foolish.               • Look before you leap.
•                                            • Don‟t throw and wise.
    Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, out the baby with the
                                                 bathwater.
•   A friend in need is a friend indeed.     • Where there‟s a will, there‟s a way.
•                                             a All‟s well that ends
    A drop of honey catches more flies than • hogshead of vinegar. well.
                                            •   If it looks like a duck, walks like a
                                                duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a
                                                duck.
                                            •   A stitch in time saves nine.
                                                   Use your list of proverbs to complete
Which of the proverbs on the left mean the         the activity!
same as these sentences?                           1.    A bird in the hand is   18.   Make hay while the
Choose 2                                                 worth two in the              sun shines
                                                         bush                    19.   Necessity is the
                                                   2.    A friend in need is a         mother of invention.
1. It is not a good idea to decide if a thing is   3.
                                                         friend indeed.
                                                         A stitch in time
                                                                                 20.   Never put off till
                                                                                       tomorrow what you
good or bad just by how it appears at first or           saves nine.                   can do today.
by its outward appearance.                         4.    Absence makes the
                                                         heart grow fonder.
                                                                                 21.   One man's meat is
                                                                                       another man's
2. When a bad thing happens there is always a      5.    As you sow, so you            poison.
                                                         shall reap.             22.   Out of sight, out of
positive aspect to it.                             6.    Beauty is only skin           mind.
3. If you don't see someone for a long time        7.
                                                         deep.
                                                         Better late than
                                                                                 23.   Rome wasn't built in
                                                                                       a day.
you like them better.                                    never.                  24.   The best way to a
4. When you are in a strange place                 8.    better safe than
                                                         sorry
                                                                                       man's heart is
                                                                                       through his stomach.
(temporarily) it is better to follow the local     9.    Don't count your        25.   The end justifies the
                                                         chickens before               means.
customs.                                                 they're hatched.        26.   The grass is always
5. You should be happy with what you have          10.   Don't cry over spilt
                                                         milk.
                                                                                       greener on the other
                                                                                       side of the fence.
got even if it is less than what you want.         11.   Don't judge a book      27.   Too many cooks
6. In many areas in life if you do not confront    12.
                                                         by its cover.
                                                         Don't throw the baby    28.
                                                                                       spoil the broth.
                                                                                       Two heads are
a problem when it starts it can deteriorate              out with the bath             better than one.
                                                         water.                  29.   Waste not, want not.
rapidly therefore it is much better to act soon.   13.   Early to bed and        30.   When in Rome, do
7. This proverb was probably written by                  early to rise makes a
                                                         man healthy,            31.
                                                                                       as the Romans do.
                                                                                       You can lead a
someone who owns his own house and                        wealthy and wise.            horse to water, but
doesn't stay up all night dancing.                 14.   Every cloud has a
                                                         silver lining.
                                                                                       you cannot make
                                                                                       him drink.
8. Don't become very upset by trivialities.        15.   God helps those who     32.   You can't make a
                                                         help themselves.              silk purse out of a
9. Don't take risks.                               16.   Half a loaf is better         sow's ear.
                                                         than no bread.          33.   Let sleeping dogs lie.
                                                   17.   He who laughs last      34.   Hunger is the best
                                                         laughs longest.               sauce.
                            Use your list of proverbs to
Explain one of the    1.
                            complete the activity!
                               A bird in the hand is   18.   Make hay while the



 proverbs to your
                               worth two in the              sun shines
                               bush                    19.   Necessity is the
                      2.       A friend in need is a         mother of invention.
                               friend indeed.          20.   Never put off till



neighbor. See if he
                      3.       A stitch in time              tomorrow what you
                               saves nine.                   can do today.
                      4.       Absence makes the       21.   One man's meat is
                               heart grow fonder.            another man's



 can guess which
                      5.       As you sow, so you            poison.
                               shall reap.             22.   Out of sight, out of
                      6.       Beauty is only skin           mind.
                               deep.                   23.   Rome wasn't built in



 proverb you are
                      7.       Better late than              a day.
                               never.                  24.   The best way to a
                      8.       better safe than              man's heart is
                               sorry                         through his stomach.



 referring to (do
                      9.       Don't count your        25.   The end justifies the
                               chickens before               means.
                               they're hatched.        26.   The grass is always
                      10.      Don't cry over spilt          greener on the other



    not say the
                               milk.                         side of the fence.
                      11.      Don't judge a book      27.   Too many cooks
                               by its cover.                 spoil the broth.
                      12.      Don't throw the baby    28.   Two heads are



 proverb in your
                               out with the bath             better than one.
                               water.                  29.   Waste not, want not.
                      13.      Early to bed and        30.   When in Rome, do
                               early to rise makes a         as the Romans do.



   explanation).
                               man healthy,            31.   You can lead a
                                wealthy and wise.            horse to water, but
                      14.      Every cloud has a             you cannot make
                               silver lining.                him drink.
                      15.      God helps those who     32.   You can't make a
                               help themselves.              silk purse out of a
                      16.      Half a loaf is better         sow's ear.
                               than no bread.          33.   Let sleeping dogs lie.
                      17.      He who laughs last      34.   Hunger is the best
                               laughs longest.               sauce.
Try to decide which proverb could help you       Use your list of proverbs to
express yourself in the following situations.    complete the activity!
Choose 1                                        1.    A bird in the hand is   17.   Make hay while the
                                                      worth two in the              sun shines
1. You make an appointment with your            2.
                                                      bush
                                                      A friend in need is a
                                                                              18.   Necessity is the
                                                                                    mother of invention.
chiropodist for 6pm. You arrive at 6.15. He           friend indeed.          19.   Never put off till
                                                3.    A stitch in time              tomorrow what you
complains that he has been waiting for 15             saves nine.                   can do today.
minutes. What would you say?                    4.    Absence makes the
                                                      heart grow fonder.
                                                                              20.   One man's meat is
                                                                                    another man's
2. Your boss calls you into his office to ask   5.    As you sow, so you            poison.
you why you haven't finished the task that      6.
                                                      shall reap.
                                                      Beauty is only skin
                                                                              21.   Out of sight, out of
                                                                                    mind.
he asked you to do earlier and he complains           deep.                   22.   Rome wasn't built in
                                                7.    Better late than              a day.
that you are slow. What would you say to              never.                  23.   The best way to a
him? (you are being cheeky)                     8.    better safe than
                                                      sorry
                                                                                    man's heart is
                                                                                    through his stomach.
3. Your best friend gets married to a very      9.    Don't count your        24.   The end justifies the
ugly fat person who has a very kind, pleasant         chickens before
                                                      they're hatched.        25.
                                                                                    means.
                                                                                    The grass is always
personality. Your spouse asks you how he        10.   Don't cry over spilt          greener on the other
                                                      milk.                         side of the fence.
could have possibly married her. What           11.   Don't judge a book      26.   Too many cooks
would you say?                                  12.
                                                      by its cover.
                                                      Don't throw the baby    27.
                                                                                    spoil the broth.
                                                                                    Two heads are
4. Your friend smokes 60 cigarettes a day.            out with the bath             better than one.
He has a bad cough and he is always whining     13.
                                                      water.
                                                      Early to bed and
                                                                              28.
                                                                              29.
                                                                                    Waste not, want not.
                                                                                    When in Rome, do
(complaining) that he would like to give up           early to rise makes a         as the Romans do.
                                                      man healthy,            30.   You can lead a
smoking. You offer to pay for expensive                wealthy and wise.            horse to water, but
residential anti-smoking therapy. He says       14.   Every cloud has a
                                                      silver lining.
                                                                                    you cannot make
                                                                                    him drink.
that he doesn't want to do it because he will   15.   God helps those who     31.   You can't make a
miss his favorite television serial. What do    16.
                                                      help themselves.
                                                      Half a loaf is better
                                                                                    silk purse out of a
                                                                                    sow's ear.
you think to yourself?                                than no bread.          32.   Let sleeping dogs lie.
                                                17.   He who laughs last      33.   Hunger is the best
                                                      laughs longest.               sauce.
           In other cultures…
• Proverbs in one culture are frequently similar to
  proverbs expressed in other cultures.

• For instance, the French "Qui vole un oeuf vole
  un boeuf" translates to "He who steals eggs
  steals cattle"; but you, as an American, will
  likely be more familiar with the American
  proverb "Give him an inch and he'll take a mile."
Proverbs from around the World
The first day you meet, you are friends. The next day you meet, you are brothers. — Afghan

                                                      proverb

                         A coral reef strengthens into land. – Hawaiian proverb

   Those who are choosy often pick the worst. – Ilocano

                                      proverb (Philippines)


            Experience is the comb that nature gives us when we are bald. – Belgian proverb

           A stranger nearby is better than a far-away relative. – Korean proverb

           Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm. – Malayan proverb

    Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough, but not baked in the same oven. – Yiddish proverb

                  In a battle between elephants, the ants get squashed. – Thai proverb

    In a court of fowls, the cockroach never wins his case. – Rwandan proverb

                 Little by little, the camel goes into the couscous. -Moroccan proverb

   When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black. – German
Now, let‟s practice
 translating some proverbs
 from Things Fall
 Apart……
Folktales and
   Fables
Turn to a neighbor and tell
 them your favorite fable, if
 you know one.

. Do you like it because of the
  story? Characters? Moral?
                   Vocabulary Review
                      Fill in the worksheet
1.  fable: a fictitious story meant to teach a lesson. The characters in fables
    are usually animals
2. genre: a type of literature
3. oral tradition: the handing down of stories from generation to
    generation through the spoken word
4. interpretation: a person's expression of the meaning of something; this
    can be done through dance, art, and drama
5. folklore: the traditional beliefs, sayings, legends, customs of a people
6. personification: a figure of speech in which a thing, quality, or idea is
    represented as a person
7. moral: a lesson, usually regarding right or wrong , taught by a fable
8. setting: the location and/or time the story take place
9. evolve: to develop, to unfold, to grow, to change
10. spellbinding: holding one's attention, fascinating, enchanting
           Key Features of Fables
• Fables are considered a genre of literature and come from
  the oral tradition of storytelling found in folklore around
  the world.
• Fables are a special kind of tale. In most fables, animal
  characters act like humans (personification). Usually, a
  fable teaches a specific moral.
• To appreciate and understand a fable, it is useful to hear it
  more than once. The first time, you enjoy the story. The
  second time, you can study the characters and find the
  lesson taught about human nature.
• Storytellers told fables over and over again. As they were
  retold over the years, they evolved in content, emphasis,
  and style.
Lets read a fable from Africa together
 and try to understand the moral….


http://www.afro.com/children/myths/wind/p
  age1.html
Let‟s practice reading some Western
               fables…..
1.    Get into groups of four-each group take four fables from
      the stack
2.    Read each fable for your group separately and then decide
      what the moral is as a group
3.    Select one fable from your set for which you think you
      have the best interpretation
4.    We will reconvene as a class and each group will read their
      fable and share their moral-after they have shared we will
      compare the group‟s interpretation with what Aesop* said

 *Who was Aesop?
 Aesop was a slave who lived in 6th century bc Greece. He compiled a collection of
 fables, many of which he wrote himself. These fables were passed on through
 history via oral tradition. The collection, called Aesop‟s Fables, is one of the most
 famous in Western history.
  Aesop‟s Fables: Which one will you
              interpret?
1.    The Tortoise and the Eagle (170).       16.   The Horse and the Stag (28).
2.    The Vain Crow (190).                    17.   The Lion and the Bulls (30).
3.    The Monkey and the Dolphin (198). 18.         The Ant and the Dove (36).
4.    The Mouse and the Weasel (202).         19.   The One-Eyed Doe (37).
5.                                            20.
      The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat (214).     The Lion and the Dolphin (39).
6.    The Stag and the Vine (233).            21.   The Hawk and the Pigeons (44).
7.    The Wolf in Sheep‟s Clothing (2).       22.   The Hen and the Fox (49).
8.    The Fox and the Crow (5).               23.   The Cat and the Mice (51).
9.    The Ant and the Grasshopper (12).       24.   The Eagle the Wildcat, and the
10.   The Mice in Council (13).                     Sow (61).
11.   The Fox and the Goat (15).              25.   The Fox and the Stork (67).
12.   The Hare and the Hound (21).            26.   The Hares and the Frogs (79).
13.   The Hare with Many Friends (19).        27.   The Cock and the Fox (81).
14.   The House Dog and the Wolf (22). 28.          The Eagle and the Fox (82).
15.   The Goose with the Golden Eggs (25).
The End
   Resources and References
• http://www.afro.com/children/myths/myths.
  html
• Readwritethink.org

				
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