The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of English

Paula Gunn Allen, "Kochinnenako in Academe"

What are the stories discussed in this essay, and how were they preserved?

According to Gunn Allen, what does "Kochinnenako" mean? (2112) What does she perceive to be central features of her Laguna culture?

What does Gunn Allen believe are the features of tribal oral literature, in contrast to European written texts?

What is the first interpretation of the tale presented? (2117-18) How does Gunn Allen perceive it to have been changed from the original? Which elements does the European translator omit? What does he add?

Does this story remind you of any other non-Indian myths?

What is her second, allegedly feminist interpretation? (2118-20) What assumptions are inserted into this tale? How would an anti-colonialist feminist interpret the story?

On what notions of feminism does this hypothetical interpretation rest?

What are the elements of a feminist tribal interpretation? (2121-23)

What does Gunn Allen see as some practical consequences of Eurocentric patriarchal distortions, as she sees them? (2123)

What are some implications and consequences of the narrative structure of Laguna tales? (2123-24)

What does she see as resemblances between attitudes espoused by women and those of native traditions? (2125)

In Gunn Allen's view, what are some ways in which traditional people's tales are misrepresented by non-tribal peoples? (2126)

What do you think are the most important points of Gunn Allen's essay?

Are her methods of interpretation consonant with those of any critics we've read so far? How would you compare or contrast her approach to narrative with that of Todorov and Brooks?

(from Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism)


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