Article published in:Keeping Ourselves Alive
[Journal of Narrative and Life History 3:2/3] 1993
► pp. 223–238
"Words Like Bones": Narrative, Performance, and the Reinscribing of Violence in Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller
Abstract This article discusses the ways in which Leslie Marmon Silko's book Storyteller (1981), and the inscription of Native American oral storytelling techniques in it, challenge theories that assert that narrative is fueled by desire and/or ab-sence or loss. In particular, it examines how this inscription refigures the role of violence, and especially rape, in the series of "Yellow Woman" tales in Silko's book. Each of the article's four parts performs a different approach to understanding the book: The first part questions, by way of staging, a Lacan-based focus on lack in understanding narrative structure; the second discusses the cultural and moral dilemmas of teaching Silko's pieces, and the depictions of sexual coercion in them; the third imagines the possibilities and limitations of a Foucault-based theory of narrative; and the fourth addresses how a per-formance-based reading of the tales provides a way of dealing with these issues. (Oral storytelling theory; performance theory; gender studies; pedagogy)
Published online: 04 August 2015
Cited by 1 other publications
Langellier, Kristin M.
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