Cajun and Creole Folktales

Download Cajun and Creole Folktales

Post on 11-Jan-2016




2 download

Embed Size (px)


Cajun and Creole Folktales. The French Oral Tradition of South Louisiana. Dr. S. Kay Gandy Western Kentucky University. Creole. Distinguish that which was native to colonies from that which was imported Distinguish descendants of Europeans born in colony from immigrants - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


<ul><li><p>Cajun and Creole FolktalesThe French Oral Tradition of South LouisianaDr. S. Kay GandyWestern Kentucky University</p></li><li><p>CreoleDistinguish that which was native to colonies from that which was imported Distinguish descendants of Europeans born in colony from immigrantsDistinguish French-speaking black people from English-speaking African AmericansFrench Creole referred to white, upper class, non-Cajuns</p></li><li><p>CajunAmericanized for of term Cadien (pronounced Cajin)Referred to Acadians deported from Nova ScotiaCultural and linguistic blend with Creoles, Spaniards, Germans, Scotch and Irish</p></li><li><p>Excluded Minority1900s law banned speaking of Cajun French in schoolsNo written literature by Cajunsoral storytelling tradition1968 Council for Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL)Preserve and utilize French language and culture by offering subject in schools</p></li><li><p>Results of CODOFILElevation of ethnic consciousnessPopular to associate with Cajun or Creole culturesZydecoFoodTales </p></li><li><p>FolktalesPortray the kinship, language, religion, customs and heritage of culture Always been symbolic of the culture of a people, typically becoming part of the oral traditionFits well with National Standards for Social Studies Teachers: Culture and Cultural Diversity; People, Places, and Environments; and Individual Development and Identity</p></li><li><p>Categories of TalesBased on vestiges (trace of something gone)Animal talesfollies of animalsMagic talesold world romanceBased on popular traditionJokesTall talesBased on historical experienceLegendsHistorical tales</p></li><li><p>Animal TalesAnimals speak, cry, laugh, and reason like humansCleverness (rabbit, fox, turtle)Ignorance (wolf, bear, hyena)Malice (spider, monkey)Based on French and African traditionsFrequently framed by comments and judgments</p></li><li><p>Animal TalesBook jackets from</p></li><li><p>Magic TalesTypically long, oral narrativesComplex plots, amazing skill, quest for treasure, and heroes/heroines who succeed in the endFormal vocabulary</p></li><li><p>JokesMost popular oral genreFunny, but seriousDefine a culture from the insideOften told in English</p></li><li><p>Boudreaux and Thibodeaux had bought their own airline. On their first flight from Lafayette to Jamaica, they ran into motor trouble. Thibodeaux came on the speaker and said, "We are going to have to make an emergency crash landing. We are over the ocean so all of you that can swim please move to the left side of the plane, and all of you that can't swim, please move to the right side. As soon as the plane hits the water I want all of the people on the left to swim for shore. All of you on the right, well, Captain Boudreaux and I would like to thank you for flying Cajun Airlines (from;thib.htm)</p></li><li><p>Cajuns as IlliteratesCajun boy who went to LSU and came home for Christmas. The proud father gathered 100 people to welcome the boy home and demanded that the boy share something he learned at L.U.S. The boy shared what he learned in algebra"Look, boy, I done spen' my las' money wi'at I got on you fo' you to got some educate, an' here you come tole me you can't said somet'in' in algebra. You better said somet'in', or you won't be able to go back to school no time. I'm gonna beat yo' head from you." De son say, "Hokay, pa-pa. Pi R Square." His pa-pa look at him an' say, "Now if dat ain't a damn fool. Averybody know pie are roun'--cornbread are square" (Wilson &amp; Jacobs, 1974, 102).</p></li><li><p>Tall TalesCommon in prairies to the westBased on familiar activitiesHighly public and often told to strangers (test gullibility)</p></li><li><p>The Bent ShotgunThere's a man who had gone duck hunting. And it was a round pond and the ducks had lighted all around next to the bank. He wanted to kill all the ducks. He didn't know what to do. So he bent the barrel of his shotgun according to the lines of the pond, and the pellets went all around and killed the ducks (Ancelet, 1994, 124).</p></li><li><p>Loup GarouBook jackets from</p></li><li><p>Legendary TalesBased on belief, often told as trueExplore boundaries between everyday and supernaturalBuried treasure or mysterious events</p></li><li><p>The Man Who Asked for RainThe story teller uses the story to present a moral against pride and greed. The fact that this man seeks not only to succeed himself, but to see his neighbors fail recalls the line often attributed to Attila the Hun: It is not enough that I win; others must lose.Ancelet, B.J. (1994). Cajun and Creole folktales, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, p. 151.</p></li><li><p>Historical TalesEmbellished truthExaggerated attributes of heroOccurrence of events in groups of threeEntertainment as important as transmission of facts</p></li><li><p>Little PierreBook jackets from</p></li><li><p>For the ClassroomSketch migration path of Cajuns from Acadia to Louisiana and follow the settlement patternsHow did the neighbors in surrounding areas influence the Cajun culture and how did the Cajun culture influence others? Examine Tall Tales that have developed in other areas of the U.S., such as, Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan and compare to Cajun tales</p></li><li><p>For the ClassroomTaste Cajun cuisine and note the ingredients that came from other cultures (African vegetable okra, Choctaw spice file powder, French base of roux, German Andouille, Spanish jambalaya).Examine influence of Creoles in New Orleans through architect</p></li><li><p>ConclusionDirect relationship between culture and folktalesCreate cultural awareness and understandingReflect everyday life of a peopleBinds the listener and the storyteller</p></li><li><p>Resources and MaterialsAncelet, B.J. (1994). Cajun and Creole folktales, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.Reneaux, J.J. (1992). Cajun folktales, Little Rock: August House Publishers, Inc.Reneaux, J.J. (1994). Haunted bayou and other Cajun ghost stories, Little Rock: August House Publishers, Inc.Breaux, T.J. (1999). Cajun stories my granpa tole me, Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company.Thomassie, T. (1995). Feliciana Feydra Le Roux, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.Thomassie, T. (1998). Feliciana meets dLoup Garou, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.Reneaux, J.J. (1995). Why alligator hates dog, Little Rock: August House LittleFolk.Soper, C. (1997). Cajun folktales, Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company.San Souci, R.D. (2003). Little Pierre: A Cajun story from Louisiana, Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.</p><p>*Cajun and Creole oral traditions are not simply French, but unique to French Louisiana, where African, African American, British American, native American, and Spanish American populations have created a complex cultural mix*Mixed race: Creole of coloroccupied middle ground between whites and enslaved blacksFrench Creolereferred to white, upper class, non-CajunsBlack Creolesmore or less pure African descentzydeco music*American nationalismBanning of FrenchCouncil for the Development of French in LouisianaCODOFIL--1968*22 Parishes in AcadianaOfficially recognized in 1971 by Louisiana state legislature*Barry Jean Anceletpremier authority of Cajun and Creole TalesCreole Stories: hearty stories, doctors and ailments, ethnic stories, village chronicles, jokes, nature and animals, devil and God, Creole stories*Grandparents used these stories as oral cartoons to entertain their grandchildrenIn the story, Dog taunts alligator (Msu Cocodrie) daily from the safety of the cabin he shares with Man. When alligator gets a chance to come after Dog, it is the quick thinking of Dog that saves him from becoming alligators dinner.In the book Cajun Folktales (Soper, 1997), six Lapin and Bouki stories describe how the clever rabbit and his slow-witted friend (a wolf in this series) encounter adventure in the Louisiana bayous. In the first story, Lapin and Bouki have planted vegetables on a farm. Lapin gives Bouki the choice of choosing the plants or roots of the potatoes. Bouki later regrets his choice of choosing the plants, and decides to choose the roots of the corn crop.**(Story: Marie Jolie pp 73-80)Adventurous quests for fabulous treasuresBefore the days of radio and televisionLanguage from another timeKing often became multi-millionaire very interested in hunting and fishingIn the story Marie Jolie, a young girl is tricked into marrying the devil. She shows great courage in her escape and rides an alligator across the Mississippi River. When the devil forces the alligator to take him across, the alligator dives deep and the river takes the devil (who cant swim) downstream to New Orleans. Some say he washed up in the French Quarter on Bourbon Street. Marie never married again, noting that once youve been married to one devil, theres no need to go out and look for another one **(Letter to Cajun Son)Through humor, they reflect contemporary developments in their societys collective sense of identityPeople define themselves in part by what makes them laughCajuns have never hesitated to laugh at themselvesEscape danger by their wits (Little Pierre)Often the setting was school (Cajun had no place in classroom)Justin Wilson*(Duck Pond)Difference in a lie told to amuse and a lie told to deceiveCajun storytellers are artistic liarsOften told as tests of gullibilityRequire complicity between teller and members of his audience who tacitly agree to suspend rules of reality for awhileMany of best tales are based on two liars trying to outdo each other and seeing how much they can get away withOne recurring theme in Cajun folklore is a character known as the "loup garou" or "loup garon" which is based loosely on a werewolf (Deutsch &amp; Peyton, 1979). In some cases, a man could be changed into a loup garou by committing a sin, such as missing mass on Sunday. Thomassie (1998) shares a light-hearted story of a cranky girl who meets d'Loup Garou. Feliciana's brothers tell her horrible tales about the Loup Garou and what he does to children who misbehave. When Feliciana hears a howl at night she follow the sound into a swamp and meets the creature. At first she is frightened, but when the creature threatens to eat her brother, Feliciana talks back to him. As the two speak, they realize that they both have problems and just need to howl at the moon to feel better. **Buried treasure or mysterious events form the basis of legendary tales. During the time of the Civil War, Southerners often buried their money to prevent Yankees or vigilantes from securing their funds (Ancelet, 1994, xlv). Stories are told of Jean Lafitte and his buried treasures, and of folks who died without telling anyone the location of hidden treasures. Reneaux (1994, 51) related the story of a Confederate soldier making his way home who took shelter from a storm in an abandoned house along a bayou. At night he met the ghost of Jean Lafitte who begged the soldier to take his treasure and save his soul. The soldier's terror caused him to run away and warn others to beware of the bloody curse on anyone who would take the treasure. Civil WarSoutherners buried their money to protect it from Yankee pillagers and vigilante gangsSuspicious folks died without telling anyone about hidden treasuresJean Lafitte*These stories covered a wide range of topics, from life on the harsh frontier, or resolving problems through duels, to practical jokes or stories of moon-shining and contraband running. Personal courage during hard timesIncredibly fortunate accidentsOften attributes story to a family memberStories told in French tend to represent an insiders point of viewThose told in English tend to represent an outsiders perspectivebased on the stories of Poucet of Ti-Poucet (Little Tom Thumb; Thumbling). Little Pierre is small, but much smarter than his four brothers. When the brothers try to save the rich man's daughter from the swamp ogre, the brothers demonstrate just how ignorant they are. It is up to Little Pierre to save the day. Little Pierre marries the girl and gets the reward.*</p></li></ul>