In Nahua communities, both men and women may act as storytellers, but female storytellers are fewer and perform in more intimate contexts. As a result, there is to date no analysis of female Nahua storytelling. In this article, the author compares two cognate folktales and underlines how each storyteller, a woman and a man, deal with essential concepts related to morality and supernatural beings. Recent studies on women's folklore point out that women's discourse often takes place in a private context and uses ambiguity as an expressive strategy; this ambiguity, in turn, is linked to the immorality or illegitimacy attributed to women's words by many societies. The Nahua case, however, suggests that Nahua female storytellers, although performing privately, prefer a discourse that stresses themes of morality, while some publicly renowned male storytellers may express ambiguous and amoral feelings. Ultimately, this disparity can be tied to the ambivalent opinion Nahuas hold toward the Hispanic world and to recent changes in female identity.
Journal of American Folklore – American Folklore Society
Published: Oct 18, 2007