Storytelling on the Gabarus-Framboise coast of Cape Breton : oral narrative repertoire analysis in a folk community

Thurgood, Ranald (1999) Storytelling on the Gabarus-Framboise coast of Cape Breton : oral narrative repertoire analysis in a folk community. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The rural folk community exists. The Gabarus-Framboise region of eastern Cape Breton, although not Redfield's ideal folk society, is, nonetheless, a contemporary folk community in which virtually every person knows every other and where all are connected by a strong sense of history, tradition, kinship, and place. Unlike members of many urban communities of interest, residents of Gabarus-Framboise interact continually at work and play. Any individual's social universe extends well beyond the immediate area but is dominated by relationships with local people. Here, a sense of regional identity is both shaped and reinforced by storytelling traditions. In fact, stories provide roots for the people of this community, connecting the tellers and listeners even as they entertain. -- This thesis is a repertoire analysis of contemporary oral narratives in a rural folk community. A thematic breakdown of stories shows that while they cover a variety of topics, most focus on the community, its residents, and their physical and social environment. To situate current storytelling practices and themes, they are first placed within their historical-cultural context. The region's oral narratives are enjoyable and comprehensible, at a basic level, to outsiders. However, these stories are better understood as parts of an ongoing community novel containing both repeating and overlapping characters and topics, carrying deeper messages about identity, relationships, and values to insiders. -- The community's narratives cannot be separated from either tellers or listeners. Most local residents share the ability to create entertaining narratives about such subjects as personal experiences, family and community history, supernatural occurrences, and local characters. Typical conversational storytelling is analyzed by examining a house visit involving two couples, in which each person makes an important contribution to the evening's entertainment. The thesis includes many stories from both men and women. However, the role of specialized storyteller is attributed locally to the elderly, usually men or Gaelic speakers. The repertoires and storytelling practices of three men who are recognized by their neighbours as the community's outstanding storytellers are explored. While expressing their own preferences for particular narratives and narrative genres, local storytellers, whether conversational or specialized, maintain and reshape regional identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1307
Item ID: 1307
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 453-487.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Nova Scotia--Gabarus Region; Canada--Nova Scotia--Framboise Region
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Storytelling--Nova Scotia--Gabarus Region; Storytelling--Nova Scotia--Framboise Region; Storytellers--Nova Scotia--Gabarus Region; Storytellers--Nova Scotia--Framboise Region; Framboise Region (N.S.)--History; Gabarus Region (N.S.)--History

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