Abstract

In an Aboriginal children’s story from Central Australia, small creatures such as dragon lizards and ground-dwelling insect larvae known as ant lions convey rich symbolic meanings. This article analyzes the story, song, and graphic schema of a story that reinforces the dangers of being alone and the unpredictable incarnations of malevolent characters. By comparing versions in several Arandic languages, we elucidate the network of social and cultural meanings of the story and the poetic and artistic devices used to express them. We suggest that formalized children’s “play” routines such as this story perform an important role in socialization in Arandic society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6527
Print ISSN
0003-5483
Pages
pp. 358-394
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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