Chapters 4-5 of “Story, Performance, and Event” by Bauman

Chapter four summary

This chapter concentrates on the role played by a reported speech in oral literature. The author begins by asserting the importance of excellent structural elements in reported speech. Direct speech is restrictive in the way of reporting while the reported speech gives the speaker some flexibility to be innovative and witty. Reported speech is essential in combining an event in its narrated form and a narrative event itself. The author demonstrates that narratives with reported speech as the main one are usually more stable than narratives whose main component is not the quoted speech.

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The author studies performance of the same meaning using the reported speech and direct speech. He concludes that the performance using the reported speech can anchor a message in a more joking manner than the performance utilizing the direct speech. He perceives the final speaker in these narratives as the key to conveying crucial messages to the community using verbal wit, but, at the same time, using non-threatening tones and reflections. Such performances are essential in conveying messages intended to transform society from evil doing. A society characterized by evil doings is a cursed society that has no signs of progressing socially, economically, and politically. True stories are told to inform members of the society of the vulnerabilities of life. The reported speech makes the vulnerabilities real in life but attempts to control them in narrations. It would be the pursuit of every oral literature item to consider current events in the contemporary world and try to offer answers. The author concludes the chapter by restating the role played by the reported speech in oral literature performances and in transforming society in general.

Chapter five summary

The author starts by acknowledging that students studying oral literature are faced with the difficulty of telling the importance of tradition, persistence, and change. The difficulty is in line with what is manifested in the oral text. He gives an example in the illustration of a reported speech he gave in chapter four, which demonstrated that the narratives with reported speech as their main one are usually more stable than the narratives whose main speech is the quoted speech. Many scholars have spent much time analyzing the role of tradition and innovation. Nonetheless, they have given preference to traditionalism and persistence. Tradition has been key to preserving the social sentiment regarding folklore. The idea presented by tradition in oral literature is the resistance to change and conservation.

Things changed in the past few decades when the dynamics of folklore began to be addressed to do away with the imbalance that dominated the field. The current approaches adopt the role of individual innovation and performance in various oral literature contexts. The approach has attached less importance of many individuals to oral literature than the roles played by an individual in the advancement of oral literature. However, criticisms have revolved around the role of the individual performer. For instance, the role an individual would play in the advancement of his or her career, acquiring new performance tactics, and performance prowess. It is easier to examine the personal development of an individual in folklore than that of many individuals in a society. The author observes that the analysis of the criticisms has been spotty. For example, Lord’s analysis views oral texts as the fundamental units when comparing texts given by a singer in his or her many performances. In his conclusion, the author insists that students should focus on adopting interdisciplinary approaches to enhance understanding of the roles played by many aspects of storytelling. This would help in the advancement of performance, understanding of events across ethnic lines, and social intercourse through oral literature discourse.

Comments about Baumann’s techniques

The author uses a storytelling approach in this book. He acknowledges that stories play crucial roles in transmitting messages across the globe. Baumann adopts the use of small chapters to explore the functional relationships that link reported texts with the situated events during the performance. In his instructive and illuminating book, the author defines the stage by presenting what he intends to convey to his audience. He does not just tell. This is a very powerful technique in oral literature. He creates a mood by introducing the focus of his writing and the role played by oral literature in the contemporary world.

The author uses narration and experiences to bring out the issues faced by students in modern literature classes. For instance, he asserts that students confront the difficulty of telling the importance of tradition, continuity, and change. He analyzes the facts and provides a solution to the problems encountered by the students. The author uses analytical techniques to assess the happenings in the world of oral literature. For instance, he analyses the Lord’s views of oral texts as the fundamental units when comparing texts given by a singer in his or her many performances.


Bauman, Richard. Story, performance, and event: Contextual studies of oral narrative. Vol. 10. Cambridge University Press, 1986.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Chapters 4-5 of “Story, Performance, and Event” by Bauman'. 25 April.

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