Uncle Remus speaks...

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In reading Joel Chandler Harris's Nights with Uncle Remus, besides the bit of translating that needs to be done from the plantation dialect, I am fascinated that a majority of these tales originated in Africa, where the "trickster" character was a spider, not a rabbit.

In The Story of the Pigs, I thought, "Geez, does this sound familiar..." and I'm sure you know why. I researched the 3 Little Pigs story and found that this version is one similar to that told in 1843 by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillips and later revised to the more popular story we all know by Joseph Jacobs. I like that all the bay pigs were named, and was confused that 1.) I still don't know if the lack of piggage is the cause of the bristle famine, and 2.) what the term "marters" means in the line, "...en w'en marters stan' dat way, 't wa'n't long 'fo' he done make fresh meat er Speckle Pig." Is it for "martyrs", like two paws and a head in a pious position, or the word "matters" as in events going on.

Overall, I found this dialect very hard to look at and read. Once I started speaking it (or attempting to), it seemed easier to hear and understand than to see and understand. It also helped that I talked like Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder. As weird as that may sound, that Southern plantation dialect helped put things in that light to me. My ear could understand better than my eyes. Does that make sense?

 

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This page contains a single entry by Michael McCullough published on October 4, 2010 2:22 PM.

American Literature Paper One on The Scarlet Letter was the previous entry in this blog.

Podcast on Uncle Remus and his tales... is the next entry in this blog.

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