Quichua tales from Cañar, Ecuador
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The thesis comprises a classification and analysis of 64 tales told by Indian inhabitants of the rural communities around the highland town of Canar, Southern Central Ecuador, The informants all had Quichua as their mother tongue and, with the exception of 4 texts, used it in the telling of the tales. These were tape-recorded, transcribed with the help of a Quichua assistant, and are presented in full together with English translations. The classification of texts is based largely upon criteria of contents, although both genre and tale structure are also taken into account, all three considerations being closely interrelated. Classification according to content owes something of theory and method to the Finnish-American school led by Aarne and Thompson (Thompson 1955-58, Aarne and Thompson 1951). The discussion of genre definition takes Bascom's article (1965) as a starting point, and also takes into account more recent statements on the subject. The consideration of structure as a criterion at the classification stage is in accordance with the arguments of Propp (1968) and Dundes (1962b, 1964). The classification scheme resulted in a breakdown of the tales into four sections (A-D), The largest of these is Section A, whose 32 tales will be shown to adhere to a common structural framework, whilst the sub-sections into which they are divided reflect their differences in surface content. Sections B and C are both examples of tale cycles, bound by this definition to be grouped together. Section D comprises humorous tales, largely borrowings from mestizo culture, with little in common on grounds of structure. The analysis seeks to examine the relationship between tales within the sections, at the levels of both structure and content if this is appropriate; where it is not, remarks are confined to content alone. The analysis of both structure and content calls for some comparisons to be drawn with material from elsewhere. Such comparisons are confined to the Ecuadorean highlands, to a lesser extent Peru, and incidental reference is made to other geographical areas, especially where borrowings are concerned, Structural analysis was most applicable to Section A, an apparently heterogeneous group of legends and folktales which, it is argued, are bound together by common underlying features of structure. These features appear to derive from the local legends of the area, and have then encouraged the adoption and development of certain folktales whose structure was compatible with such already existing forms. The theoretical basis for this approach is to be found in Dundes (cit.), Maranda and Kongas Maranda (1971), and Hymes (1971). The breakdown of texts to reveal their structure takes both the 'syntagmatic' and the 'paradigmatic' aspects of the latter into account (see Dundee's intro, to Propp 1968:xi-xii). In order to reveal more clearly the paradigmatic characteristics of the texts, and the structural affinities that exist between tales at this level, use is made of Levi-Straussian terminology and the methods he uses for the schematic cross-comparison of tales have been adapted (Levi-Strauss 1970, 1972), Analysis of content follows two main lines: in the case of the legendary material it is particularly appropriate to examine the relationship that apparently exists between the local belief system and oral narrative. In the case of folktales, it is relevant to consider content on comparative lines, examining the nature and/or distribution of episodes as they occur in Canar and as they are found elsewhere in Andean narrative tradition. The works of Morote Best were particularly useful for this purpose (1950b, 1953b, 1954, 1957, 1958a, 1958b). The main aim of the thesis is therefore to analyse the structure and content of the tales in order to show the underlying relationships that bind them within a coherent system of narrative tradition. Some connections at both these levels are also to be seen between sections as well as within them, and these are pointed out. Material introduced from outside was adopted, it is suggested, for its compatibility with that which was already there. In addition to this, possible social and cultural reasons for the appeal of particular kinds of tale in the area are discussed as relevant.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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