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Sometimes an african folktale will survive the passage across the atlantic and be re-told by slaves in the context of america.

Please do not post generic responses that don’t contain any specific references to the material you read, such as “I really enjoyed chapters 1 through 15 of Moby-Dick. It was interesting!” Try to ensure that your responses are between a few paragraphs and a page (at 12 point font Times New Roman double space) (250 words is appropriate) in length. I also encourage you to respond to other students’ responses. Here are examples of good material to include in your Discussion Board responses. *Responses to questions that I will ask in my writing prompts *Your own questions for your classmates or me which came into your head as you were reading (it helps to take notes as you read). * Your opinion about the themes and issues discussed in these stories, or ideas about what if anything the author is trying to teach, or what you think is the meaning behind symbols or metaphors you read. * making connections between these works of literature and other works of literature, either

modern literature or older literature which might have influenced it. *making connections between the literature and the life or psychology of the author, or about events that were going on in America or the world at the time it was written. Some of America’s earliest literature was not written down but passed by word of mouth for generations, changing as it was retold. These are oral traditions. Some Native American communities did use different forms of writing but none of them had a written literary tradition. Learning and retelling their tales instead of putting them in books was more common (which can make it very difficult to find the ‘correct’ or ‘original’ form of a folk tale). In African American slave communities, people were not taught to read or write. It was actually illegal to teach black people how to read in some states. Still they had the need to have literature. Stories help the world to make sense. So they too developed an oral storytelling tradition. For your first formal writing assignment, I’d like you to research a character, creature, or story from African American or Native American myth or folklore. Then, you must describe this character or give a short summary of the story. You may not copy and paste material from another source; you must summarize in your own words. If you do a Native American folktale, identify the specific Native culture that originated this story. Please don’t say things like “Native Americans believed…” because Natives are hundreds of different cultures who had very different lifestyles and beliefs. What part of America were they native to? Is there anything more that you can tell us about the culture? Does the story say anything about the cultural practices and/or values? If you do an African-American folktale, speculate, in your opinion, what value this tale might have had to a community of slaves? Did it lift their spirits? Reinforce morality or a code of conduct? Are three any elements of the story that would have been particularly significant to a slave community? Sometimes an African folktale will survive the passage across the Atlantic and be re-told by slaves in the context of

America. For example, if the original story featured a tricky monkey, it might be replaced with a North American animal like a tricky raccoon. Is there any evidence that this story can be traced to West Africa? In either case, cite the source of your folk tale in MLA format. If possible, avoid sources intended for children. Some Useful Terminology: Creation Myth: a mythological explanation of the origin of the Earth or human beings. Archetype: a character or situation that appears in many stories across cultures Trickster Figure: sometimes a humorous character, uses deceit and psychology to prevail over characters who have more power Etiology: a story that explains the origin of a phenomenon — for example, why do rattlesnakes have rattles, why does the sunset turn the sky red? Parthenonegesis: literally “virgin birth”, a woman becomes pregnant without having sex, usually to a very special child