By Donald J. Cosentino
The domei is a well-liked narrative artwork shape one of the Mende humans of Sierra Leone. even though it is a conventional shape, the narratives will not be remembered or retold, yet on each one social gathering the performers recreate out of a typical inventory of characters and plots domeisia, that are singular and occasionally magnificent expressions of a novel, and infrequently remarkable, tradition. during this publication Donald Cosentino offers a wide choice of those narratives, as he amassed them in dramatic functionality at the verandahs and round the cooking fires of a Mende village. The domei is instructed to delight, and Dr Cosentino info many of the components that represent the excitement of an oral functionality. yet underneath the skin glitter of those ironic, frightening, bawdy and haunting narrative performances, there's an highbrow hardness of argument and debate which shines during the domeisia integrated right here. Dominating those performances, and emblematic of the whole creative culture, are the 'everywoman' determine of the Defiant Maid, Yombo, and the 'everyman' obdurate Farmer, Kpana.
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Extra info for Defiant Maids and Stubborn Farmers: Tradition and Invention in Mende Story Performance
2, (1971), pp. 17-36, for its insights into these theoretical divisions of land. 26 Mende mimesis Fig. 2 Divisions in the dunyei The maweei, as already noted, exists primarily as a work force whose function is the production of rice. The exigencies of slash-and-burn farming dictate that new land must be cleared every year to insure fertility for the upland rice crop. Thus each year a part of the bush is hacked out for human cultivation and afterwards left to revert to its primal status. Upland rice cultivation demands consuming and arduous labor.
There is a narrative in our collection which seems to belie this analysis. 6 in the Appendix to Chapter 4) is important to acknowledge, for it demonstrates that the malice of the senior wife is primarily an aesthetic device, not a social commentary. In Kpetiwa's performance, the senior wife, who is also the leader of the Sande society, acts in concert with the junior wives to cuckold a jealous husband. The contrastive pair in this narrative is still contained within the maweei, but it is to be found in the opposition wives/husband, not senior/junior wife.
It is obvious that the first principle which informed the production of Mama Yewa's domei was the repetition of a narrative block. In her material and in her methodology, Mama Yewa was indistinguishable from any other domti performer, and apparently, from any other oral performer anywhere. Serious critics of oral traditions from around the world have isolated comparable narrative units, though their terminology and definitions for these units vary. Thompson catalogues characterizations and plot incidents and calls them 'motifs'; Levi-Strauss searches out the 'gross constituent units' which underlie the complex paradigms of myth.
Defiant Maids and Stubborn Farmers: Tradition and Invention in Mende Story Performance by Donald J. Cosentino