Trickster In Contemporary Literature

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CHANGING SELVES AS A MODE OF SURVIVAL: TRICKSTERISM AND SHAPESHIFTING IN CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI’S THE MISTRESS OF SPICES
Dr Sulagna Mohanty
(Assistant Professor, Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu) sulagna2008@gmail.com ABSTRACT
In the scenario of socio-economic, political, and cultural globalization, myth is used as a postcolonial tool to connect various Native cultures together from a regenerative perspective. In the contemporary literary context, while discussing mythical characters in numerous hues and forms, human and animal, natural and supernatural as they coexist in the postcolonial texts, the element of camouflage, deception, disguise, changing selves, and shapeshifting become significantly
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In contemporary literature, the trickster survives as an archetypal character that develops into more than a supernatural or divine character. Tricksters play an important role in the folklores and culture of many ancient Native traditions as they are equally famous and infamous for playing tricks on people while displaying unconventional behavior and breaking traditional norms. Contemporary postcolonial literature has successfully used the figure of trickster as a metaphor of resistance who is capable of overcoming a system of oppression. While the trickster crosses various cultural traditions, there are significant differences between tricksters in the traditions of many indigenous peoples and those in the European traditions. Few of the important and famous trickster figures from all over the Native traditions are Anansi, Brer Rabbit, Eris, Hermes, Jack, John the conqueror, Kuma Lisa, Kyprioth the Trickster, Loki, Maui, Pan, Satan, Raven and Coyote and many others. Divakaruni, in the text The Mistress of Spices, retells the tale of the indigenous, mythical Native American figure of Raven, the trickster, and Indian Tilo by maneuvering both the characters as culture heroes and…show more content…
The name Raven itself is a very important name in Native American culture. Raven is the trickster figure in many Native American stories. As one from the stories, Raven is subtly aware of his own magical-mythical abilities. Critic Jeffrey R Gudzune makes this observation about the trickster figure in Native American storytelling tradition: … Having their origins in the oral tradition of early Indian tribes, these tricksters have evolved into powerful symbols. The transformative powers of the trickster make such an entity transcend the physical and metaphysical world (Gudzune np).
In Native American mythology, there are many figures which are known as tricksters—they are the entities who contribute in creating the world, bringing fire and helping humanity. In general, the trickster is usually a male character, though not always. In the book, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit, Jo-ann Archibald
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