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Trickster - Research Paper Example

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The Character of the Trickster in Literature Your Name Student Number Course Number Due Date The Character of the Trickster in Literature The character of the trickster has been employed in many works of fiction. This character has in many cases, become the symbol of the oppressed masses and is a useful literary device as it enables the writer to circumvent the usual codes that are prescribed by the society and the power structures that exist within the society…
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Trickster Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages Events in the world are not so simple to distinguish and thus, the divisions of the oppressor and the oppressed, the victimiser and the victimised, are porous and these two categories often overlap. The coexistence of both categories within the same society often makes this porosity of categories inevitable and this shall be analysed while looking at the characters who seek to escape social boundaries and social restrictions through trickery, and usually earn a living through exploiting others. It is thus, not surprising that in many of these stories, the trickster belongs to non-white races and may often be women or belong to ambiguous sexual identities and orientations. Literature becomes a medium whereby writers seek to show the society how trickery becomes the only option that is available for a class of people who are unable to launch any open form of protest. The character of the trickster may in some cases, not even be human. It may be the society that plays tricks upon the consciousnesses of human beings and may also lead to the distortion of memories. Toni Morrison’s story, Recitatif, exemplifies this idea. It talks of the life of a child named Twylla. Twylla is raised for a while in a shelter home where she meets Roberta Fisk. She enters into a friendship with Roberta and sees how a deaf woman named Maggie is abused by the older girls of the shelter. The story of Maggie is told often through memories and often, the narrator of the story can be suspected of being an unreliable narrator. This feature of the story makes it impossible for the reader to identify what happened to the character of Maggie and the question remains whether she was victimized as a result of her being black. This ambiguity in the story points to the unseen character of the trickster in the story, memory. The memory of both Roberta and Twylla are shown to be unreliable and they serve the function of the traditional trickster (Morrison). The trickster, in a manner that is similar, can also be the collective consciousness of a community. The clean environment of Harlem on Sundays makes the people believe that they are better off in life than they actually are, in the Langston Hughes’s poem, “Passing”. The real lack of economic resources and squalid manner of living makes these areas want to be like people of other areas that were economically better off. This is possible, according to Hughes, only by converting the collective imagination of the people into metaphoric tricksters (Hughes). In another work by Hughes “Who’s Passing for Who?” he describes his experience with a couple which seemed to be white. They later reveal that they are colored. While leaving Hughes, they say that they were white people trying to pass off as colored. In this story, the trickster couple serve to bring to the fore the racist assumptions that are made by both white and colored people. Both sets of people harbored prejudices that were deep-rooted. The young black writers who are a part of the group that Hughes is with try to make themselves appear very knowledgeable. This is a consciously put on act that is aimed at impressing the white people. When they are told that the couple is colored, they end up being very friendly with them and they let their guard down. They then become more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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