African Tales and Myths
Things to Consider:
- Myths vs. Tales
- Male & Female Roles
- Ancestor Worship
- Versions of Creation
- Transmission and Translation:
** Homework Questions **
(Page #s refer to the pdf‘
- Why were African poetry and proverbs ignored for so long?
- Traditionally, was African culture monotheistic or polytheistic? Explain.
- How does the African Supreme God differ from Greek and Roman gods and goddesses?
- How are myths different from tales?
“Story of Creation”
- How does Mbere make man? How does this version of creation compare to other versions you’ve read or heard of?
“Story of the Beginning”
- How does Nzame compare to the Christian or Jewish god?
“Lie and Truth”
- Are “Lie” and “Truth” really people? Explain.
- Is this a myth or a tale? Explain. What, if any, is the moral?
“The Dog and The Cock”
- Describe the treatment of women in this piece.
- Is this a myth or a tale? Explain.
Other Discussion Questions:
- Generally, what does early oral traditional poetry examine?
- Who makes man?
- Why is the Earth peopled?
“The Story of the Beginning of Things”
- Explain the significance of the first sentence.
- Who is Fam? Describe his relationship with Nzame.
- Who/What is Nssissim?
- What are the three “commandments”? What is the punishment for violating them?
“The Origin of Death”
- Does the moon really “die”? Explain.
“The Human Race”
- According to this story, how does a woman help a man “refresh” himself?
- Why is the horse-woman greedy?
- Why are the dog-women spiteful?
“The Spider and the Mason-fly”
- Is this a tale or a myth? Explain.
“Spider Tries His Wives”
- Why does Spider need to “try” his wives?