Research/Publications

Title of research project : Oral Tradition in the Texts Of Native American and Indian writers

Name of the Principal Investigator : Dr. Uday V. Navalekar

Abstract

Native American Literature is the last to be recognized as literature though it is not at all a modern literature. It is a fact that Native American writing was not well received and accepted by the main-

stream of American literature. It is surprising to note the new kind of mouldings and remoulding of language, images, symbols myths, ritual and culture which are pure. The Native Americans are traditionally storytellers like Indians.

Oral traditions are historical accounts, teaching, lessons, explanation that have been passed down for centuries from one generation to the next. Orality is straddled over two roots between tradition and modernity. Orality is relative to mannerism, reactions, attitudes, and ways of being, walking, talking, and thinking or living.

Native American literature can be classified as oral traditional literature or ceremonial literature and popular literature. There are five hundred Native American languages and not dialects. It is an attempt to understand the oral tradition by learning bicultural theories and how the consequences of bicultural experiences are reflected in modern texts. Reading Native American novel is a guided tour of native culture with departure and recovery as main themes.

The literary tradition is in vernacular languages. The earlier forms of Indian literature are religious. The folk oral tradition goes back into timeless antiquity. The epics are with many stories and episodes. The plays of modern playwrights are rooted in the oral traditions of literature. They are influenced by Indian culture and tradition. They used the myth, rituals in stories to preserve culture through modern texts which are in written form.

The writers such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Paula Gunn Allen, Girish Karnad., A.K.Ramanujan became successful due to their ability to deal convincingly with oral traditions and myths and their use of narrative technique. Native American and Indian novels are essentially ritualistic in approach and significance though their narrative plotting is western. All the above mentioned writers and their characters return to the roots and try to revive the local culture and tradition while dealing with ancient myth, we need to invent bits of myth to preserve our culture which provides us hope and consolation.

Brief objective of the Minor Research Project entitled Oral Tradition In the Texts of Native American and Indian Writers. Objective of the Project 1. To study oral tradition of Native American Literature. 2. To study oral tradition of Indian Literature. 3. To compare oral tradition of Native Americans and Indians. 4. To search oral tradition in the written texts of modern writers. 5. To study and explain the similarities and differences and bicultural experiences from socio-historical and socio-cultural point of view. Achievements of the project Native American literature was the first to be created but the last to be recognized. The significance of oral tradition is explored and reexplored. The project gives us an insight into Native American and Indian cultural. The oral tradition in the written texts has maintained its specificities through a surviving system. How oral tradition is preserved and presented in written texts is explained perhaps first time.

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