Chapter

Animals and Tricksters

Betty Booth Donohue

in Bradford's Indian Book

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037370
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042336 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813037370.003.0006
Animals and Tricksters

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In many Native worldviews, animals inhabited the earth before people, and often were creators who formed the earth and made the planet hospitable for humans. In Native literature, they should be read as major characters, and are often protectors of people. The trickster character, however, often manifested as Coyote, Raven, or Rabbit, is an animal who teaches people to live by their wits, and he also explicitly illustrates what happens to humans when they go about their lives without compassion or honor. Just as animal and trickster tales dominate medicine chants, they also appear in Of Plimoth Plantation. Illustrative of the animal narratives in Bradford's history are the Thomas Granger sodomy interpolation and the observation that the introduction and increase of livestock caused the colony to splinter as it demanded more land. Bradford's history abounds with tricksters, among whom are Issac Allerton, James Sherley, John Lyford, and John Oldham.

Keywords: animal narratives; Coyote; Issac Allerton; James Sherley; John Lyford; John Oldham; Rabbit; Raven; Thomas Granger

Chapter.  6375 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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