Arms Akimbo: Africana Women in Contemporary Literature

By Janice Lee Liddell; Yakini Belinda Kemp | Go to book overview
Save to active project

"A Girl Marries a Monkey"
The Folktale as an Expression of Value and Change in Society


As one of the most active artistic vehicles for the (un)conscious transmission of social values from generation to generation, the folktale has passed the test of time and still remains a living and integral part of the diurnal functioning of various people in the world. In his discussion of the role of the folktale, Dundes argues that it "provides a socially sanctioned outlet for the expression of what cannot be articulated in the more usual, direct way" (36). Although Dundes overstates the point by his use of the negative emphatic auxiliary, it is still clear from his argument that the folktale provides a widely accepted and approved forum through which shared values may be delivered. It is also possible to see the folktale as a powerful form through which societal values may be contested, reformed, or overthrown altogether.

This chapter examines the structure of a specific African folktale as it exists in five primary versions in order to determine how the folktale deploys received values. The folktale in question is clearly popular with collectors, but it is most prominent in modern African literature in English in its secondary version in Ama Ata Aidoo play, Anowa ( 1970). Aidoo's excellent drama helps to identify the well-known folktale in its modern context.

The storyline that informs most of the substance of Anowa is drawn from the tale that recounts the story of a young woman who, spurning all parental choices and other offers of a spouse, makes her own choice and ends badly. It is a narrative line realizable in an almost infinite number of ways. As will be shortly illustrated by five summarized versions of the tale, the names of the dramatist personae change, as do their physical


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Arms Akimbo: Africana Women in Contemporary Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 268

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?