English | INTRODUCTION TO WRITING AND THE STUDY OF LITERATURE
L141 | 1956 | Pong Linton
Topic: "The Worldly Ways of Tricksters"
Lecture Section: 1956 2:30-3:20 W
Why do we like the bad boy Bart Simpson and laugh with Lucille Ball? Root
for the ruses of Sheherazade and Odysseus? Applaud the escapades of Eshu
and Loki? How do we account for the wide and enduring appeal of tricksters
in diverse cultures, past and present, including ours? To explore these
questions, we will study a number of traditional stories and modern
adaptations of tricksters in literature and film. We will specifically
examine how tricksters make their way in the world, often by transgressing
implied rules, and what their transgressions tell us about a culture's
values and assumptions. Analysis will focus on the "language games"
(signifyin', joking, riddles, paradoxes, con-games, etc.) through which much
trickery occurs. We will also analyze the narrative forms and the
technologies that provide a medium for tricksterism in the cultural
imagination and in everyday life. These lines of inquiry will provide a
basis to understand and write about the values and assumptions informing our
own sense of agency as knowers and doers in a multicultural world.