THE PLACE AND EXPRESSION OF ORAL TRADITION IN TONI MORRISON’S BELOVED, SONG OF SOLOMON AND RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN

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THE PLACE AND EXPRESSION OF ORAL TRADITION IN TONI MORRISON’S BELOVED, SONG OF SOLOMON AND RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN

Abstract:

The place and expression of Oral tradition in selected novels of Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison shows how oral tradition is able to link the past and present in terms of family origins and cultural identity at the same time. Since Africans were transported as slaves to America, they have nurtured and created a dynamic culture within a climate of intense racial, social and economic exploitation and injustice. They developed kinship networks, religious beliefs, and families infused with their values and race knowledge. This rich expressive culture articulates their deepest feelings, aspirations, and wishes. The research focuses on the place and expression of oral tradition in both urban and rural communities. The African Americans have maintained a lively and widespread verbal art tradition in spite of urbanization, industrial growth, education, and mass communications which has become a tool for writers. This has been possible because blacks for their own survival and sanity improvised and formed their own culture within the dominant ones, one which remains predominantly oral as discussed in the selected texts. The oral tradition as a form is hugely expressed and deployed in the selected text: Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1989) Song of Solomon (1977) and Ralph Ellison‘s Invisible Man (1952). The selected texts shows how blacks lived apart yet as a part of the larger society using stories, songs, and other kinds of folklore to continue to develop and preserve their history. The wealth of oral lore includes many traditional forms such as songs, proverbs and rhymes, handclap, dance and rap, as well as toasts and tales recited by adults. Although each genre has its own concerns and norms, all represent a unique oral response to a difficult historical and economic climate. The introductory part discusses the background and the theoretical framework of the research. There is also a review of related literatures on the selected novelists showing different perceptions. These views by various authors on Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison clearly shows that the aspect of oral tradition has been neglected by researchers. The research explores these oral traditions in the selected texts and delineates what they mean to African Americans. The desertation relates the essence and uses of oral tradition and practices for African Americans and it is discovered that the past lives of African Americans can never be complete without relating their ties to Africa. Blacks were transported to the new world as slaves and what kept their spirits and history alive is their rich cultural heritage and oral traditions

THE PLACE AND EXPRESSION OF ORAL TRADITION IN TONI MORRISON’S BELOVED, SONG OF SOLOMON AND RALPH ELLISON’S INVISIBLE MAN

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