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Analyzing Multicultural Literature

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Title: Analyzing Multicultural Literature


1
Analyzing Multicultural Literature
ELE 616 Readings and Research in Childrens
Literature
Fall 2009
2
Why analyze literature?
  • To discover the full spectrum of the content

3
A little Newtonian physics
  • Isaac Newton first used the word spectrum (Latin
    for appearance or apparition) in print in
    1671 in describing his experiments in optics.
    Newton observed that, when a narrow beam of white
    sunlight strikes the face of a glass prism at an
    angle, some is reflected and some of the beam
    passes into and through the glass, emerging as
    different colored bands.
  • NationMaster Encyclopedia gt Visible light

4
Spectrum requires a prism
  • Estonian composer Arvo Pärt
  • I could compare my music to white light which
    contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the
    colours and make them appear this prism could be
    the spirit of the listener.
  • about his music Alina 

5
Prism as a filter
  • Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • The biographer finds that the past is not simply
    the past, but a prism through which the subject
    filters his own changing self-image.
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1979). Angles of
    Vision, in Mark Pachter (Ed.), Telling Lives
    the biographers art. Washington, DC New
    Republic Books. Cited in Debate and Reflection
    How to Write Journalism History

6
A prism to view the full spectrum of literature
  • Personal

Real
Invented
SMiley face
7
Personal?
  • Do you feel as if youre involved part of the
    action?
  • That these are real people were dealing
    withsome identifiable personalities

8
Real?
  • Is there something that makes you feel that this
    could have happened?
  • Even when it couldnt in real life?

9
Invented?
  • Is this story invented, created by one or more
    authors?

10
Smiley Face?
  • Does it seem generic, impersonal?

11
Two Continuums
  • Real Invented
  • Personal SMiley Face

12
Put em together!
Real
Per so n a l
SM i l e y
Invented
13
Application to Literature???
. . . and Indians????
14
Top Left Sector of Matrix
  • Up close and personaland real!

Real
Folklore Folklore is the body of expressive
culture, including tales, music, dance, legends,
oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs,
customs, material culture, and so forth, common
to a particular population, comprising the
traditions (including oral traditions) of that
culture, subculture, or group. (Wikipedia)
Personal
Invented
15
A rival to Paul Bunyan and John Henry
  • Fink, Mike, 1770?1823?
  • American border hero, whose exploits have been so
    elaborated in legend that the actual facts of his
    life are difficult to discover. He was born
    probably at the frontier post of Pittsburgh, took
    part in the wars against the Native Americans of
    the Ohio region, and subsequently became a
    keelboatman on the flatboats of the Ohio and
    Mississippi rivers. He later turned to trapping.
  • Mike Fink. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth
    Edition. 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2009 from
    Encyclopedia.com http//www.encyclopedia.com/doc/
    1E1-Fink-Mik.html

16
Mike Fink tale
  • By the then beautiful village of Louisville
  • Among a band of Indian outcasts was a
    Cherokee, who bore the name of Proud Joe . . .
    Joe still wore, with Indian dignity, his
    scalplock he ornamented it with taste, and
    cherished it, as report said, until some Indian
    messenger of vengeance should tear it from his
    head, as expiatory of his numerous crimes. Mike
    had noticed this peculiarity and, reaching out
    his hand, plucked from the revered scalplock a
    hawk's feather. . . . Mikes ball had cut it
    clear from his head the cord around the root, in
    which were placed feathers and other ornaments,
    still held it together the concussion had merely
    stunned its owner farther - he had escaped all
    bodily harm!
  • Mike Fink, the Keel-boatman in Thorpe, T.B.
    (1854). The Hive of The Bee Hunter. A
    Repository of Sketches, Including Peculiar
    American Character, Scenery, and Rural Sports.

17
Bottom Left Sector of Matrix
  • Invented, but Personal

Real
Personal
Quality literature, sometimes adaptations, or
else original writing, with universal appeal and
meaning for everyman and everywoman
Invented
18
(No Transcript)
19
Personal, invented and more controversial
  • The Little House series
  • If Pa Ingalls had built his little house on the
    periphery of an antebellum southern mansion and
    Mrs. Wilder had described its Black slaves in
    the same terms she depicted the Osage Indians,
    her book long ago would have been barred from
    childrens eyes, or at least sanitized like some
    editions of Mark Twains The Adventures of
    Huckleberry Finn. Mrs. Wilders book even
    contains the popular variation of General
    Sheridans racist remark about what constitutes
    a good Indian.
  • Dennis McAuliffe, Jr., Little House on the Osage
    Prairie

20
Top Right of the Matrix
  • Real Smileys!

Real
Recognizable stories, but unoriginal and shallow
21
A real smiley?
  • Wargin, Kathy Jo The Legend of the Petoskey
    Stone Sleeping Bear Press, 2004
  • The Legend of the Petosky Stone purports to be a
    legend about a Native American chief from a
    community on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
    It also purports to tell the origin of the name
    of the northwest Michigan town of Petoskey, as
    well as the transfer of that name to a fossilized
    coral that was made the official state stone.
    There is absolutely nothing factual or
    traditional in this book. The language
    pronunciation guides, the explanations, the
    translations, are all false.
  • Review by Lois Beardslee, Oyate

22
Bottom Right of the Matrix
  • Invented smileys perhaps contrived?

Generic, unoriginal, impersonal, shallow
Invented
23
A stilted example?
  • This title presents a mishmash of Indian cultural
    snippets, alphabetically and in rhyme, paired
    with side panels that purport to offer more
    information about each topic. Abysmally written,
    with trite error-laden rhymes and boring yet
    confusing informational text, the poor attempts
    at iambic pentameter highlight this cockamamie
    piece of dreck . . .
  • Review by Beverly Slapin in Oyate

Comment by Debbie Reese in her blog
24
Functions of multicultural literature
  • Rudine Sims Bishop
  • provide knowledge or information
  • expand how students view the world by offering
    varying perspectives
  • promote or develop an appreciation for diversity
  • give rise to critical inquiry
  • illuminate human experience
  • In Using Multiethnic Literature in the K8
    Classroom (ed. Harris, V.J. (1997)), cited by
    Debbie Reese in Native Americans Today, a
    ReadWriteThink lesson from NCTE and the
    International Reading Association

25
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