El-ahrairah, the rabbit folk hero in Watership Down is stated to be based on Br'er Rabbit. As a punishment for his trickery, all the creatures of the world were set against him and rabbitkind The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat both fit this archetype to a t. And they do look almost quite similar in their live action incarnations.
Tricksters dominate the folk tradition that peoples of African descent developed in the United States, especially those tales Trickster figures, present in every oral tradition, are weak, often amoral, characters who outsmart stronger opponents.
Tricksters achieve their objectives through indirection and mask-wearing, through playing upon the gullibility of their opponents. In other words, tricksters succeed by outsmarting or outthinking their opponents.
In executing their actions, they give no thought to right or wrong; indeed, they are amoral. Mostly, they are pictured in contest or quest situations, and they must use their wits to get out of trouble or bring about a particular result.
For example, in one African American folktale, Brer Rabbit, the quintessential trickster figure in African American folklore, succeeds in getting Brer Fox to rescue him from a well by asserting that the moon reflected in the water at the bottom of the well is really a block of cheese.
Brer Fox jumps into the other water bucket, descends into the well, and, in the process, enables Brer Rabbit to rise to freedom. While frequently humorous, trickster tales often convey serious social critiques.
Though trickster tales in African American culture are frequently a source of humor, they also contain serious commentary on the inequities of existence in a country where the promises of democracy were denied to a large portion of the citizenry, a pattern that becomes even clearer in the literary adaptations of trickster figures.
As black people who were enslaved gained literacy and began to write about their experiences, they incorporated figures from oral tradition into their written creations. In fact, some scholars have argued that the African American oral tradition is the basis for all written literary production by African Americans.
To get a sense of this influence and these interconnections, it is necessary to explore the African American oral tradition.
During slavery, trickster tales with human characters reflected the actual behavior of the people telling and hearing them. People of African descent who found themselves enslaved in the New World, and specifically on United States soil, were not brought to the West to create poems, plays, short stories, essays, and novels.
They were brought for the bodies, their physical labor. Denied access to literacy by law and custom, anything they wanted to retain in the way of cultural creation had to be passed down by word of mouth, or, in terms of crafts, by demonstration and imitation.
After long hours of work in cotton and tobacco fields, therefore, blacks would occasionally gather in the evenings for storytelling. Tales they shared during slavery were initially believed to focus almost exclusively on animals. However, as more and more researchers became interested in African American culture after slavery and in the early twentieth century, they discovered a strand of tales that focused on human actors.
It is generally believed that enslaved persons did not share with prying researchers the tales containing human characters because the protagonists were primarily tricksters, and the tales showcased actions that allowed those tricksters to get the best of their so-called masters.
In some of these instances, as Lawrence W. Levine notes, perhaps the actions of the characters did indeed reflect the actions of those enslaved.
Animals that appear Trickster tales themselves are tricky; their seriousness is hidden and often overlooked. His Songs and His Sayings. Their kinship to fables thus enabled the seriousness of the tales to be overlooked at times.
The violence and comeuppance that characterize these tales, frequently with larger animals whites being bested by the smaller Brer Rabbit blackswere passed over as readers focused more on the fanciful portrayals of imaginary animal worlds.
It was not until the s and the founding of the American Folklore Society that collectors observed a strand of tales that did not disguise the actions between blacks and whites. In these renderings, John, as representative of enslaved blacks, manages to get the best of Old Master in almost every situation in which they are pitted against each other.
Contest dominates their interactions in a world where the weak and the witty always triumph over the powerful and the presumed intellectually superior.
The patterns that were set in the oral tradition found their way early into African American literary creations. As early as the s, North Carolina born Charles Waddell Chesnutt realized that he could achieve much as a writer if he imitated the pattern that Charles Chesnutt's trickster tales do cultural and political work.
Harris had set in his Uncle Remus stories. In a series of stories that he finally collected as The Conjure WomanChesnutt created Uncle Julius, a raconteur left over from days of slavery, who entertains his white employers with tales of enslavement.
These sometimes extranatural tales feature animals and humans who manage frequently to execute trickster tactics and improve their lot. For example, in one tale Julius recounts how an enslaved man is spared being sent from one plantation to another by having his wife, who is a conjure woman, turn him into a tree.
The trickery works until a Charles W. Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman. As this tale makes clear, Chesnutt adapts and explodes trickster conventions. The ruses of trickery in the various tales might work for awhile, but they serve more importantly to convey the horrors of enslavement, which is where the second level of trickery occurred in The Conjure Woman.
Julius succeeds in convincing Annie, the wife, of the horrors of slavery even if her husband, John, remains skeptically detached from the emotional truths that underlie the magical workings of the stories. Contemporary with Chesnutt, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar also incorporated trickster ideas and figures into his works.
Both Dunbar and Chesnutt were writing at a time when strictures on black creativity were prominent. Neither dared to indict whites directly for the conditions under which blacks suffered in slavery, during Reconstruction, or in the late nineteenth century.
They could, however, imply such responsibility through the development of trickster paradigms.Forgot Password? Click Here! Contact Us | Site Map | FAQ | Feedback. About Us; Get an Expert Help; Wiley Plus; Final Exam.
Pick a contemporary story in the form of anovel, movie, or video game that is inspired by a mythological epicor journey of a hero’s quest. Briefly. hum/ words A trick can be something deceptive, yet, the trickster is often the hero of a story.
Are the tricks used by trickster figures examples of fair play and ethical action? Provide examples. -A trick can be something deceptive, yet, the trickster is often the hero of a story. Are the tricks used by trickster figures examples of fair play and ethical action?
Almost every oral tradition in the world has trickster figures, and African American culture is no exception. Tricksters dominate the folk tradition that peoples of African descent developed in the United States, especially those tales Trickster figures, present in every oral tradition, are weak.
Trickster Archetype Class, A trick can be something deceptive, yet, the trickster is often the hero of a story. Are the tricks used by trickster figures examples of fair play and ethical 67%(6).