Saturday, August 31, 2019

Week 3 Extra Reading: Brer Rabbit 1-A

So, I'm jumping ahead in the UnTextbook with an extra reading assignment for this week; I want to get the Brer Rabbit units fixed up before we get to Week 7 and the Africa readings begin. What I did was to go through the Brer Rabbit I unit, Part A, replacing each story with the versions I created this summer: not only is the Uncle Remus frame removed (like before), I have also removed the eye-dialect. I really think that is going to make for a better reading experience, plus there are lots more illustrations now than before too. I also added new notes to most of the stories.

Here are the stories in Part A; they all come from Joel Chandler Harris's first book of Brer Rabbit stories, Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings, published in 1880. My two favorites are the one about fox and turtle, and the one where fox plays dead, so I've included some notes here for those:

Brer Rabbit and the Calamus Root
The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story
Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace
How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox
Mr. Fox is "Outdone" by Mr. Buzzard

Mr. Wolf Makes a Failure: The fun thing about this story is figuring out just what Brer Rabbit tricks Brer Fox into doing in order to reveal that he is not really dead after all. I read a version somewhere where Brer Rabbit provokes him into farting, which is pretty funny, although I really do like the say "wahoo!"and raise your leg trick in this version of the story. I also really like Rountree's illustration of Brer Rabbit running off when Brer Fox rises up from the dead, ha ha... and look at those pictures of poultry on Brer Fox's wall, ha ha. "Fowl I Have Known... and Eaten!"

Mr. Fox Tackles Old Man Tarrypin: I really like this story as an example of a story that came from India (it's a jataka story), and then went to Africa, and then came from Africa to the Americas, and then became popular as a Native American tale. I would say that makes it a strong candidate for going in my Storybook project. Plus, it's just such a funny story: not only does the turtle trick the fox into throwing him in the water (like throwing Brer Rabbit in the brier patch), he also manages to trick the fox into letting go of his tale. Plus, there are some nice little allusions here to the turtle being a conjure-man with those red eyes of his! The turtle as a conjure-man came up in the Cherokee story about the turtle and the turkey that I had in the announcements last week.

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