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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751

Resumo

VYVER, Corné van der. Afrikaans Jackal and Wolf trickster stories: Patterning in the structure and general content. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2022, vol.62, n.1, pp.184-199. ISSN 2224-7912.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2224-7912/2022/V62N1A10.

This article explores characteristic or repetitive pattern formations in the structure and general content of selected Afrikaans Jackal and Wolf trickster stories. By using a specific methodology, a corpus of stories was first selected, followed by a comparative analysis of the different stories. An analysis of repetitive patterns necessitates both syntagmatic and paradigmatic readings of the stories, as demonstrated in both Bremond's (1977) model, dealing with the action in stories and Greimas's (1966) actantial model focusing on different functions of characters. By utilising these analytic models, the methods of storytelling and foregrounding, as well as the meaning of these relationships and of the stories as a whole could be discerned. Pre-existing structural readings of the folk tale, the trickster tale and Jackal and Wolf stories also added value to the research. Some examples from the corpus of stories are provided to illustrate and substantiate findings. The corpus consisted of sound recordings by a project team led by Du Plessis (1987:814), recordings made by the researcher in the Murraysburg district in June 2010, Jackal and Wolf stories told by Dana Niehaus (2011), and stories from the volumes Die Kaskenades van Jakkals en Wolf (Rousseau, 2011), Die Mooiste Afrikaanse Sprokies (Grobbelaar & Verster, 2007), and Jakkals en Wolf (Grobbelaar & Verster, 2011). Both Bremond's action logic and Greimas's actantial model proved valuable in describing the structure of the stories and the unique formations of patterns that emerged from the analysis. For example, the actantial roles (Greimas) in Jackal and Wolf stories represented indications of an underlying deep structure informing countless re-telling of the different stories. Regarding the structure of events (Bremond), it was noticeable that in some of the stories, the episodes followed one another successively, while in others the episodes were embedded in previous episodes. A comparative reading of the Jackal and Wolf trickster stories revealed significant relationships between the structural elements of the different stories. For example, the stories all take place in a universal past; there are usually three characters in these stories, but usually it is only Wolf that is defeated. The characters are mostly male, and the few female characters present in the stories remain in the background. The characters constantly find themselves in a space thatfluctuates between a domesticated and an undomesticated world. The stories are mainly told by an external narrator-focaliser who narrates and observes and who is not limited to a particular position. These stories are most often told by male storytellers. Many of the storytellers are highly attuned to the audience and they often adapt the stories to suit their target audience (South African children). Many of the storytellers engage the audience by making use of ingenious techniques; for example, by directly involving the audience in dialogue or offering moral lessons. It clearly emerged that the identity of the hero in these stories depends on the perspective from which the events are considered. The investigated corpus shows that the stories can be described as trickster tales in more ways than one, and that they follow the general patterns of trickster tales. It is also clear that the identified structures remain dynamic.

Palavras-chave : actants; analysis; deep structure; folktale; narrative; patterning; structure; structural elements; trickster; trickster story.

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