How Native American Folktales Conflate Expectation American Literature Essay

761 words - 4 pages

1
Nguyen
Quan Nguyen
Mr. Thompson
American Literature
Oct 19th, 2017
How native American folktales conflate expectation
The Native American folktales conflate expectations by combining the ambiguous aspects of the stories to arise the readers’ curiosity. In traditional European folktales, they rely on simplicity and the lack of ambiguity in order to make a clear point, and to produce a clear moral that provides readers clear insight into how they should live their lives. Traditional western folktales tend to be proscriptive, whereas these Native American tales tend to be descriptive, not providing advice for how we should behave but simply describing why things are how they are, both in a physical and societal sense. The native American folktales revolve around how the world was made based on the native Americans.
In the traditional European folktales, the god have the absolute power and dominance over humans, in contrast to a non-omniscient God of the native American folktales . The idea is to emphasize on the importance of humans, who also have considerable amounts of contribution to the creation of the world. In “Old Man Coyote makes the world”, Old Man Coyote receives help from the ducks to find the soft earth root to grow plants, “The duck went down a third time. This time he came up with a small lump of soft earth in his bill.”(Robert Lowie’s The Crow Indians) He also receives help from his cousin, and after receiving a new idea, he always says, “you’re right. Why didn’t I think of that?” The lack of omniscient of Old Man Coyote makes the readers question the creation of this world: is everything all created by the hand of god or there should be other factors? When reading folktales which relate to Gods and dominant people, the readers’ expectation would normally aim to an appearance of an almighty being. However, in native American folktales, the readers are made to think of God as equal as humans.
The God in native American folktales is not always respected by the humans. This once again reflects the non-omniscient or the powerless image of God. In “Coyote’s Strawberry”, Old Man Coyote tricks on the young pretty girls he sees who are picking wild...

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