Anansi the Spider in the Caribbeans

Vanessa Blakeslee: On Writing

Although some critics regard the “folk story” and literary short story as different entities, most contemporary West Indian writers and poets have been aware of the oral traditions in their own writing, utilizing the character of Anancy, the trickster spider, or Ol’ Higue, the bloodsucking witch. The Anancy or “nancy stories” seemed an appropriate colonial metaphor for the Caribbean, illustrating the possibility of the powerless to survive and overcome larger forces than oneself with cunning, patience and wit. Whether or not attributions of traditional folklore, notably depictions of Anancy, play an appropriate role in Caribbean writing today is a chief argument challenging folklore. Does Anancy’s male trickster identity still apply to the Caribbean or should it be abandoned?

While the folktale tradition has greatly influenced the movement towards the language of speech becoming vernacular narration, certain writers have taken stories and characters out of the oral tradition and re-created them…

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About Sakari Sun

Sakari of all Trades

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