Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Entry 10: Write a reflection either on the lecture by Dr. Alles or Dr. Ochieng’ and show how the myths and legends of the Ādivāsīs in India or the Kenyan folktales are similar or different from those have read and discussed so far. How did you like his lecture and presentation? How did this enrich your knowledge of folk and fairy tales? Be reflective and elaborate on what you write. Blog is due by Sunday, April 28

Dr. Ochieng’s lecture on Kenyan folktales was vastly different from the majority of the tales we looked at throughout our class. First of all while European folktales are generally told to sooth fears such as marriage, “Beauty and the Beast,” Kenyan folk tales are used to show origin or aspects of the community. The tale that he told that explained the origins of jealousy is an example of this. Otiono is trying to get rich, leading him to the animal kingdom where he is given a gift. This gift allows him to become so rich he can take a second wife. This second wife is very jealous, when she dies she is cremated and who ever the ashes touches feel jealous. This is the origin of jealousy. In a n European tale there is no talk of why things happen or where they come from, they are just tales meant to help children explore their inner psyche. In “Beauty and the Beast,” nothing of origin is ever discussed instead the tales purpose is to sooth young girl’s fears on marriage, by showing them their husband to be is not really a beast.
In the Kenyan tale additionally wit is valued this is a similarity to the European tales. When the monkey tricks the shark into taking him back to the tree, the monkey’s wit is valued. He is seen as the hero of the story because he is able to out smart the shark and save his own skin. This is similar to some of the Bluebeard tales where the girls are able to use their wits to either sew their sisters back together and save them or hold of the villain long enough to out wit him and escape. In both cases the hero is able to out smart their enemy and is rewarded for their actions. 

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

This entry should be either about the Jewish folktale tradition or on the Native-American stories and how these are distinctly different from those of European origins. What is unique about them?) Blog is due by Sunday, April 14.

These Jewish tales are different from European tales in a few ways. For one the Rabbi for the most part is always at the center of the tale. The Rabbi tends to be the central guiding figure that teaches the others a lesson and is generally looked favorable upon. In “The Rabbi Who Was Turned into a Werewolf,” even though at the end of the tale the Rabbi turned his wife into a donkey, he was still seen as a good man. In fact the Rabbi was seem as a reasonable man, making even the relatives of his wife see the justness in his action, thereby placing no blame on him. This is the opposite of what happens in some European tales with transformation elements where the person who caused it is punished and the transformed is returned to their original state. For example in The Swan Maiden” the husband steals the wife’s swan feathers and that is how he is initially transformed to a human. By the end of the tale the wife has regained her feathers and returned to her original state as a swan and the husband is punished with loosing his wife. In the Jewish tale there is no punishment for the Rabbi’s misuse of power over his wife.
Folktales of the Jews
This leads to my next point, the lack of happy ending or soothing in the Jewish folk tales. In the “Swan Maiden” although the husband is punished for his actions towards his wife there was ultimately a happy ending. Where as in the Jewish Folk tales there is less of a focus on a happy ending and more of a focus on the lesson. In “Chelm Justice” there is no happy ending, in fact there is just the opposite, the ending is utterly unsatisfactory. The roofer is called to pay the price of cobbler’s crime. There is no soothing message within this tale to soothe the worries of the child. Instead there is the cold harsh reality of life’s unfairness. A roofer had to pay for the crime, instilling in the reader the idea of life’s unjustness. There is also the hidden lesson of making yourself unique. In a world where thing do not have to be fair this tale teaches to make oneself indispensable to those around them.
Leader in the community