Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog # 10 :: Reflection-Lecture with Dr. Ochieng

               Blog  #10 - Reflection- Lecture with Dr. Ochieng

:: Write a reflection on the lecture by Dr. Ochieng' and show how the myths and the legends of the Kenyan folktales are similar or different from those we have read and discussed so far. How did you like his lecture and presentation? How did this enrich your knowledge of folk and fairy tales? Be reflective and elaborate on what you write ::

So far, in class we have reviewed Jewish Folklore, Native-American folklore, European Folk and Fairytales, and African American Storytelling. These stories however, particulary different from Kenyan Folktales (which fall under African Orature). So, what is so unique to African Orature that is not highlighted in the fairytales we have discussed so far? First of all, African Orature is Predominately Oral! Pretty Cool huh? Even more interesting, when they narrarate these stories the tone of their voice can emphasize different meanings even they say the same word. Compare this to the fairytales we've discussed so far in class you see that the majority of them are written- essentially meaning that it gives us only one choice which is to read these stories.  Now i'm not saying reading fairy tale literature is horrible, it's just not much of an experience and a journey as when they are told orally. Another big difference is that African orature is purposed to give understanding to a phenomena- answering questions like what makes this a certain way?  why do things happen the way they do?  Whereas the other fairy tales we've reviewed in class tend to teach moral lessons.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog #9 :: Jewish vs. European Origin

                                                                        Blog Entry #9
:: This Entry should be either about the Jewish Folktale tradition or on the Native American stories and how these are distinctly different from those of European origins. What is unique about them ? ::

When I think of Folk and Fairytales I don't usually delve into the nitty-grittty; I mostly consider them as elaborate stories purposed to entertain. After this week however, I've come to learn that there is a backdoor to folklore; one that gives individuality to  each narrative through its own unique cultural influence. Let us compare Jewish folklore tradition to that of European origin:
Jewish Folklore tradition are legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of Judaism. These stories are characterized by unusual characters (giants, dwarfs, faeries, and ghosts ), the transformation transformation of men into beasts, or the unnatural occurances such as flying horses or 'a hundred years' sleep'.
European folklore on the other hand refers to folklore of the 'western world'. Although there is no single European culture, stories under this cultural influence are generally based upon christian mythology.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog #8 :: From "Rags to Riches"

From Rags to Riches

:: Cinderella is one of the so-called "rise tales", which features a narrative arc of "rags to riches through magic and marriage"(Ruth Bottigheimer). Using the film [Pretty Woman] as an example,  write a reflection on this motif. Can someone reach success or riches with magic, marriage, charm, etc.? How realistic is that ? ::

Yes, it is possible that someone reach success or riches with magic, marriage, charm, etc.
A great example roots from a Sociological (Historical) standpoint, where we see it is quite common for women in different countries to find themselves betrothed to men at a young age. Many of these women come from poor families and they themselves rise from "rags to riches" as they are typically marry into families of great wealth. It is through such matrimony that the men benefit by having a female companion, while the women act as a financial asset to their own families by ensuring them a portion of the wealth. Much to often it is the case that women under these circumstances are not marrying for love, but it is through such a union that an individual (women in particular) come to reach success and riches.

The film pretty woman makes it quite evident that it is possible to reach in some form or fashion 'success and riches' - in this case through marriage. The main characters of the film are Julia Roberts, (as the prostitute) and Richard Gere ( as the business man). It wasn't until the end of the film that the idea of marriage was a legitamate idea; up until then Julia Roberts was more so adopted by Robert Gere as his personal female companion. She then found herself upgrading from street-side prostitution to living a glamorous lifestyle along side the man of her dreams. How can this not bee seen as reaching a sense of success and happiness? Showered with cash, gifts, and jewelry , such riches were far beyond what she believed would come to be her reality.

But really is the idea of reaching success or riches with magic, marriage or charm etc. that realistic? Not entirely. In modern society people gear more toward creating their own success and prospering financially at their own hands. Not to often do you see women out of wedlock securing their families finances and benefiting through personal gain; more so it has become quite popular for individuals to secure themselves through a good education and a stable career.