Honors Theses

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Adetayo Alabi

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Nearly every society or ethnic group on the planet possesses a literary culture uniquely tied to the customs of that group. Additionally, each of these literary cultures has a folk tale tradition, which encompasses parables, songs, praise poetry, didactic stories, and many other characteristics of oral literature. One of the more engaging sub genres of the folk tale is the trickster tale. This thesis specifically focuses on three distinct trickster figures: Ajapa, a tortoise popular in Yoruba culture in Nigeria; Ananse, a spider whose exploits attempt to undermine the social order of the Akan ethnic group and has also been transplanted into the Caribbean due to the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and Brer Rabbit, the wily trickster of Joel Chandler Harris's famous Uncle Remus stories in the United States. While these tricksters are similar in several aspects, this thesis seeks to explore the factors that make them unique.

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