Reference and Interpretation in Black Folk Narrative
Wishbone: Reference and Interpretation in Black Folk Narrative follows African American folklore to its roots in African sources, bringing together a selection of narratives from both Africa and the United States and stressing their common bond and history. Laura C. Jarmon provides synopses of a number of African and African American folk tales, giving the reader a broad sample of tales with themes common to both cultures. Then, through analysis of form, language, and tone, she argues that black folk expression is modal, i.e., open-ended and tentative, a posture revealed in both the behavior and the discourse of the narratives’ folk participants. By tracing the folklore to its sources, Jarmon seeks to correct nineteenth-century suggestions that African American folklore must have its origin in European sources.
The Author: Laura C. Jarmon is professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Martin. She is coeditor of Thomas Talley’s The Negro traditions (Tennessee), and author of Arbors to Bricks: A Hundred Years of African American Education in Rutherford County, Tennessee, 1865–1965. She lives in Stanton, Tennessee.