Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Scholars of oral traditions hold differing views regarding the viability of transcribing the oral to the written. This paper demonstrates that Leslie Marmon Silko is transcribing, and thus preserving, oral culture of the Native American in her book Storyteller. Through a close reading of the poem "Aunt Susie had certain phrases," Silko's attempts to convert the oral to the printed word without losing the nuances and vitality of the spoken word are analyzed. The analysis reveals that the required elements of a traditional oral performance (i.e., opening and closing narrative frames, verbal asides, repetition, emphasis on ritual and traditions) are successfully converted by Silko to the written word through the use of contemporary poetic conventions.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1994