Oral Narratives (Sophomore LA)

Stories I Hear

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The weekend before I taught my first class for the Sophomore Year on Oral Narratives, I looked out of my window and saw this: A giant procession of women carrying coconuts on their heads, following a palki with the local deity of the area. Processions are a time to share our stories, to remember the moments of personal and religious histories.

Oral narratives and shared stories such as this one, are excellent examples of movement and time, memory that is collective and the creation of the collective identities of people and culture.

We have recreated our stories in art, cinema, literature, poetry, dance, theatre, under banyan trees, at the feet of our grandparents, through comic books, in song, at bedtime and sometimes in our dreams. But we tell it because we know it. What is unusual is to not tell it. What is even more unusual is to tell it like someone has said you must.

But we tell it as we know it.

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