The Risk of Misunderstanding in Greg Sarris's Keeping Slug Woman Alive

The Risk of Misunderstanding in Greg Sarris's Keeping Slug Woman Alive franci washburn Greg Sarris's book Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts is a groundbreaking text in that it is, in part, an attempt to incorporate aspects of oral tradition within the written word and to make the tradition and lessons of storytelling understandable for a Euroamerican audience. However, because Sarris does not clearly explain what he is trying to say, there is a risk, perhaps a certainty, that many readers will misunderstand or misinterpret the meaning of the stories that he tells and the points that he attempts to make. Instead of explaining what he means, Sarris follows Mabel MacKay's example of enigmatically answering a story with another story or ignoring the question until a later related event recalls the original story, and even then he allows the second event to stand as an explanation for the first story or event.1 It would seem that his point is to invite readers to participate in his narration and storytelling by allowing them to interpret the material through the readers' own reality filter of experience, knowledge, and emotion. This approach might be appropriate and work well for an audience steeped in oral tradition, particularly the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in American Indian Literatures University of Nebraska Press

The Risk of Misunderstanding in Greg Sarris's Keeping Slug Woman Alive

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by the individual contributors. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1548-9590
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

franci washburn Greg Sarris's book Keeping Slug Woman Alive: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts is a groundbreaking text in that it is, in part, an attempt to incorporate aspects of oral tradition within the written word and to make the tradition and lessons of storytelling understandable for a Euroamerican audience. However, because Sarris does not clearly explain what he is trying to say, there is a risk, perhaps a certainty, that many readers will misunderstand or misinterpret the meaning of the stories that he tells and the points that he attempts to make. Instead of explaining what he means, Sarris follows Mabel MacKay's example of enigmatically answering a story with another story or ignoring the question until a later related event recalls the original story, and even then he allows the second event to stand as an explanation for the first story or event.1 It would seem that his point is to invite readers to participate in his narration and storytelling by allowing them to interpret the material through the readers' own reality filter of experience, knowledge, and emotion. This approach might be appropriate and work well for an audience steeped in oral tradition, particularly the

Journal

Studies in American Indian LiteraturesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 4, 2008

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