Traditionally, the role of trickster often presents itself when there is a powerless group who longs to transcend an oppressive social order (Jefferies, Schramm 20). In African American literature, the trickster is often depicted as someone who has the ability to manipulate situations in his/her favor, despite having little or no power. Rhonda B. Jefferies states that “the primary goal of the trickster in is social nonconformity by redefining the norms of life and existence in mainstream American society (Jefferies, Schramm 20).” Since its origin in West African culture, the trickster figure has evolved from a folklore icon, mainly in the form or various animals, to an archetype whose behavior is both contradictory and complex. The tricksters reoccurring appearance in African American folklore, narratives, poems, novels and pop culture is no coincidence. It is the trickster’s pursuit of wisdom, cunning or power in an attempt to redefine social order that makes him/her such an attractive icon. The trickster character serves as an inspirational figure for the socially oppressed and has takes on many forms when expressed in past and present literature.
Many African American folk... [continues]
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