Journal of Folklore Research

Journal of Folklore Research
Volume 40, Number 3, September-December 2003

CONTENTS

    Okpewho, Isidore.
  • Oral Tradition: Do Storytellers Lie?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Folklore -- Nigeria -- Delta State.
    • Folklore and history -- Nigeria -- Delta State.
    Abstract:
      One of the challenges that narrators face is the critical reception of their accounts by the audience. While the narrator is inevitably subject to the imaginative and emotive pressures of the narrative material, the audience tends to take a more rational view of the artistic choices the narrator makes in his effort to construct a convincing account. The "aesthetic discrepancy" that seems to exist between narrator and audience leads some listeners to feel that the narrator is lying. Some scholars have questioned the usefulness of such accounts in the construction of a people's history. Okpewho addresses the issue by examining a tale he recorded in Nigeria from the narrator Charles Simayi about a contest between two men for a chieftaincy title. In making himself one of the judges in that contest, Simayi draws misgivings from one of his listeners about Simayi's touted role in the event. Okpewho examines this act of self-insertion against the background of similar evidence in various African countries and elsewhere in the world, and sees in it a narrator who "feels committed enough to the interests of his society to take a subjective stand in interrogating them. What is at play in such narratives is not so much an abstract concept of truth, as the right of the individual to review the facts of historical experience in the context of contemporary realities."
    Poveda, David.
  • Literature Socialization in a Kindergarten Classroom
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    Subject Headings:
    • Storytelling -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- Spain -- Madrid.
    • Socialization -- Spain -- Madrid.
    • Kindergarten -- Spain -- Madrid.
    Abstract:
      This article examines the storytelling event in a kindergarten classroom. The study took place in an urban, multi-ethnic public school located in a working-class neighborhood in Madrid, Spain. Poveda examines two aspects of this literacy event using tools from the ethnography of communication: the way canonical story openings and endings are presented and contextualized as social routines, and the way different narrative and character voices are performed. Storytelling sessions are construed as occasions to socialize children into literary language use. The analysis leads to several theoretical conclusions: (a) the relationship between literacy acquisition and decontextualized discourse and thought needs to be reexamined in light of classroom discourse processes, (b) socializing children into literature foregrounds debates regarding cultural change and intergenerational transmission, (c) children's literature should be seen as a social practice embedded in specific literary events.

Encounters with Folklore

    Thompson, Tok Freeland.
  • "Ladies and Gentlemen, The North Road Pounders!": An Inquiry into Identity, Aesthetics, and New Authenticities in Rural Alaska
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    Subject Headings:
    • Summer festivals -- Alaska -- Kenai Peninsula.
    • Summer solstice -- Alaska -- Kenai Peninsula.
    • Kenai Peninsula (Alaska) -- Social life and customs.
    Abstract:
      This essay seeks to understand a particular musical ensemble and related ritual traditions in a rural immigrant community in Alaska. While some of the materials used in the ensemble are gathered locally, other articles are mass-produced, and one element, an interpretation of the Australian dijiridu, is the result of information gleaned from the Internet. The cultural complex is viewed as "local" as well as "global," and "invented" as well as "traditional."
    Henken, Elissa R.
  • Taming the Enemy: Georgian Narratives about the Civil War
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    Subject Headings:
    • Sherman's March to the Sea.
    • Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891 -- Legends.
    • Legends -- Georgia.
    Abstract:
      While the overriding mythology in the South is that during the Civil War General Sherman completely razed the Confederate states, destroying all in his path, the individual local legends and family narratives in Georgia show a much more complex pattern. In local legendry, towns each have a story of why that town, and that town alone, was not destroyed. In these legends, the ravaging Northern beast is brought under control by the civilizing powers of the South, expressed mainly through old friendships, women, and beauty. In an equation of Southern women's beauty and refinement with that of the South itself, the legends particularly emphasize women's roles. Local legends and family narratives about preservation of one family's property show women playing a broader range of roles in which, through using both their wits and physical ferocity, they call on Sherman and his men to be gentlemen and, thereby, control their enemy. Declarations that the conquered were not vanquished, both the local legends and the family narratives provide statements of pride in the past and models for the present.

Contributors

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