Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Once upon a time: An anthropological exploration of Gwich'in stories ("Man in the Moon"; "The Old Woman and the Brushman")
by Frey, Monika, M.A., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2015, 192; 1598959
Abstract (Summary)

This MA thesis research focuses on Gwich’in stories. It seeks to better understand how similar the versions of two stories are when each is parsed into units representing themes within the stories. Drawing in part on Lévi-Strauss’s structural study of myth and applying aspects of it to the Gwich’in stories discussed in this research, I will demonstrate that several versions of a story contain identical themes, though levels of detail vary. This occurs when (1) a story is told by the same storyteller at different times, and (2) when a story is told by two or more storytellers. While each version of a particular story may differ in the amount of detail, resulting in shorter and longer versions, my research shows that the main themes of a story are identical even when several storytellers narrate the same story or when the same storyteller tells a story more than once, but several years apart. There is a gap in the academic literature pertaining to Gwich’in stories. Recent projects have been conducted including Gwich’in stories focused on documenting narratives, but no one has investigated whether the content of those tales is actually identical. My research complements these projects by shedding light on a less studied aspect of Gwich’in storytelling.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Plattet, Patrick, Tuttle, Siri
Commitee: Koskey, Michael
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Canadian literature, Folklore, American literature
Keywords: Gwich'in, Man in the moon, Storytelling, The old woman and the brushman
Publication Number: 1598959
ISBN: 9781339048383
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