The Art of Storytelling

Published: 2021-06-17 09:47:33
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Storytelling revivalists often pose storytelling as the traditional – and finest means of spreading experience. This does not infer that the stories are “true life” stories, though they may be; the story’s capability to pass on experience that is worth to the listener is related to the “truths” contained in the story, whether it is true or imaginary, as well as to the capability of the storyteller to provide the correct story at the correct time. The traditional story, the fairy tale, offer what Benjamin called practical wisdom. As one teller commented on the storytelling listerv, “… the tellers of old created the stories that have survived. There were purposeful, and the purpose was to pass on the things of value they had learned in their lives.” (Tom, 7/22/96) Information, supposed to be factual and practical, is viewed by revivalist as the enemy of wisdom and pragmatism.
Storytelling is seen as worldwide; while stories may vary across cultures, they are viewed to be adaptable across cultures and languages. Sometimes the same story turns up in many different cultures. For this reason, many a times storytelling is seen as a bridge or a common ground between different cultures and societies. Storytelling and stories are witnessed to be generally owned and freely shared. Their pens are collective and unnamed; the story is formed by the thousands of voices that have confirmed and uttered over hundreds of years. This brings out a sense that listeners will recall the stories and join the chain of transmission. “Storytelling is something everybody does, like brushing their teeth and going shopping and talking to their neighbours.” [Sean, 2]“We all need stories for our minds as we need food for our bodies: we watch television, go to the cinema and theatre, read, and exchange stories with our friends. Stories are particularly important in the lives of our children: stories help children to understand their world and to share it with others. Student’s hunger for stories is constant. Every time they enter your classroom they enter with a need for stories.” (Wright, 1995 quoted in Miskiewicz, 2004)
It is the oral translation of a personal, literary or traditional story during which the storyteller offers the listeners to establish meaning by an active participation through conversation and imagination. Through the storyteller’s facial expressions, gestures and voice, the listener observed and generates a series of mental images derived from meaning associated with sounds, gestures and words. Telling a story can be deep, exercising the thinking and touching the emotions of both teller and listener. “Storytelling brings to the listeners heightened awareness, sense of wonder, of mystery, of reverence of life. This nurturing of the spirit comes first, it is the primary purpose of storytelling and all the other uses and effects are secondary” [Pederson, 12]
The Storytelling art includes many types of Genres: They include jokes, ghost stories, tall tales, wonder tales, proverbs, epic, myth, legends, tall tales, yarns, anecdotes, riddles and folk tales. These are part of both traditional and ‘revival’ storytelling… In addition, we include monologues and recitations and some form of performance poetry.
Certain “traditional” forms hold more play than others. Folk and fairy tales now outnumber other resuscitated storytelling genres at storytelling festivals, as well as in print and professional uses such as education and health care. We cannot imagine a village without rustic and ramshackle, scattered huts among hundreds of plants and trees, muddy roads and clear Blue River. The same way it is equally impossible to imagine a childhood without Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White or The Frog King. Our sensibilities are feeded by them and these fairy tale characters seemed more real than the strange adults around us. Millions of human souls absorb the fairy tale motifs during their formative years and their feelings are given directions which influences the whole character of a people. No other literary creation not even the loftiest classical work has such a fundamental effect on generations of people. Fairy tale is imagination because it leads into a realm of creative pictures, the individual feels younger as he or she grows into the imaginative world.
The expression “folktale” and “fairy tale” are used loosely if not interchangeably. This condition is aggravated by the translation from the Russian of Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the folktale. Propp’s study was literally a study of the “miracle tale” or “wonder tale,” a notably Russian form which amalgamate features of both fairy and folk tales in merger with mythical elements. Fairy tale is a wide category which many westerners connect with classic children’s bedtime fairy stories: “pinnacled castles, rose-wreathed princesses, their enchanted sleeps and dashing princes showing a leg…. amorous romances and fabulous histories of giants.”33 They take place in a dateless magical world, commonly with human beings as main characters. The stories of Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Red Riding Hood, and Tom Thumb and, Cinderella are the best-known depictions of this form, jests and riddles, animal fables and proverbial cautionary tales are also included. Fairy tale does not necessarily signify fairies; in French the equivalent term “fee” means more generally ‘magic’ and would points the magic in tales for example Red Riding Hood’s speaking wolf or Bluebeard’s magic key. Marina Warner, author of a popular recent study of the fairy and folk tale form, profess magical shape shifting to be the core of the fairy tale form: More fundamental than the presence of fairies, the moral function, the imagined antiquity and oral anonymity of the ultimate source or the happy ending.
The folk tale carcass more solidly in the domain of practical human concerns, though it too may at times comprised of talking animals or other such mythical or fantasy figures, often for humorous or allegorical effect as in certain “trickster” tales. Folktales even more than fairy tales are related with cultures without writing. They have been called the “pose fiction of oral literature” and show an interest in folk lore – clothing, food, customs, everyday culture and beliefs. The folk tale is a broader category than the fairy tale. Like fairy tales, folk tales are found worldwide from the Arab World (stories from the 1001 nights, a folk tale frame containing folk and fairy tales), Europe and America, Africa and Asia, India, and innumerable other locations and traditions. Non-magical variants of these tales include “clever wife” stories, Zen tales, certain First Nations trickster tales, Scottish and Appalachian “jack” tales and other such “wise fool” stories as the middle Eastern tradition of “Hodja Nasrudin” stories.

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