The “Story Performance and Event” by Richard Bauman is relatively a short book, but very deceiving. The brevity conceals a hypothetical richness and depth that is hard to find in most works of literature which double its volume. In this book, Bauman illustrates the necessity of novel strategies in the conceptualization of oral narratives. In this book, he focuses on the performance of story-telling. The beauty of this book is that, the models used are not programmatic. This report will explore and summarize the second and third chapters.
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The author begins this chapter by arguing that two forms of tales exist namely true and false. Scholars of folklore have been hugely dependent on the element of truth in the categorization of oral narratives. Some scholars argue that the categorical description of a narrative depends on the degree to which the narrative is founded on verifiable facts. However, other scholars hold that the description should be pragmatic and relativistic, based on local descriptions prescribed by the society.
In such societies, the individual telling the story and the audience may perceive the tales to be fictitious or true. However, in the recent past there has been a lot of debate with regard to the empirical foundation and the dependability of this truth-value criterion. Bauman argues that various scholars and tutors have been engaged in endless debates with their students with regard to the use of the truth-fiction classification in the categorization of legends, tales, and narratives among others. Bauman holds that in reference to the truth and quality among others, the size of subjective belief does not matter because they remain constant. The significant thing is that the legend makes a stand and rallies for the articulation of ideas about truth and belief (Bauman 11).
Bauman emphasizes that on particular occasions, belief might be relatively secondary to the actual performance. This means that the perception of truth and belief will differ, and hence necessitate a deliberation within the society and the narration situations. This implies that if an individual is interested about the context of narratives in society, then the complexities of variance and deliberation should be evaluated. The matter should be investigated from a comparative approach, and not from an ethnographic one. An abstract priori, as well as universal truth-value principle or categorical approach on oral narrative has proved to be more productive empirically compared to priori etic systems in various communities.
A lot of evidence suggests that the truth and cheating can as well be of societal and cultural significance, especially in relation to narratives. Ethnographic investigations are required to describe how the truth and cheating are employed as narration principles within a particular community (Bauman 12). Bauman seems to use a lot of verbal techniques in his analysis and expression of various concepts, in relation to the story-telling of narratives within communities. He emphasizes on the dialogue which takes place in narrative telling and the subsequent debate whether the narrative is true or false. This argument is clearly illustrated by the description of the dog trading in Canton. In this chapter, the tales are organized around a common context in the form of a jockey ground. This is the yard in which the traders meet on the first Monday during the trade fair.
Through this particular context, Bauman especially pays attention to story-telling as a method of creating trust in the current circumstance of dog trading. This method is usually comprised of an exciting meta-narrative mixture of truth and lying. For example, a trader may expose his colleagues lying, and then proceed to lie in an attempt to justify his own authenticity. In this particular chapter Bauman also pursues other types of narratives, genres, and outstanding formal features among others. He also critically evaluates the ethnographic setting of Canton’s trade fair.
The organization of this chapter is different from the previous chapter. In this chapter Bauman attempts to investigate the matter of fabrication via practical jokes. Some of the things deliberated and described in this chapter, comprise of the organization of ideology from a first-person perspective, how to equalize the timing to the tale, and quantity of chronology presented to the audience. This information creates and sustains a suspense-filled narrative. It also provides the description and framework of practical jokes, and the association between the debriefing tales and the occurrences they recollect.
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The tales in this chapter are specifically selected as they overwhelmingly illustrate what reality can be, and they are formulated through speech. This is in regard to the tales of events and the events told by the tales. Bauman further expands his form of construction to coming events. He argues that compound intelligence is obtained by doing and telling, which assists in the modeling of every new joke. This means that the stories on average contribute positively to the formulation of new practical jokes (Bauman 51-52). In the course of the book, Bauman prudently relates his evaluations to those given by other researchers. Most of these citations provide an energetic interactive debate between the various pieces of information presented by Bauman and the scholars cited, thereby elucidating both perspectives concurrently.
Bauman, Richard. Story, Performance, and Event: Contextual Studies of Oral Narrative. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Print.