Popular Culture as Folk Culture

Posted by: | February 2, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular Culture as Folk Culture

Last week we spent quite a bit of time in class discussing how popular culture is an expression of the resistance of those people dominated by people in higher powers. I kept this in mind while reading this week’s articles, and in doing so, I found many examples of expressions of resistance in the assigned readings. I also want to mention that I really enjoyed the readings this week, and found that time seemed to pass quickly while reading them!

In the legends told by Miguel Angel Asturias, I feel that they in themselves are expressions of resistance. In the first legend, the Legend of the Singing Tablets, the story is based on the lunar cycle, which was followed by the indigenous people. By including the lunar year in this legend, the indigenous people are able to keep their calendar alive, even with the Spanish introduction and imposition of their calendar. In the Legend of the Silent Bell, there are many references to Christianity, for example Jesus Christ is mentioned, as well as his crucifixion and resurrection. However, these Christian references are made in the context of an indigenous legend, and are therefore adapted to indigenous customs, as we discussed in class last week. I also felt like there was a moral to each legend, a lesson to be learned in the end. I believe that the lessons learned from reading these legends perpetuate the values that are considered most important to the indigenous people, thus also representing a form of resistance to the imposition of a more modern, urban, or European value system.

The story “The Pongo’s Dream”, told by Jose Maria Arguedas, portrays resistance but also the uprising of the oppressed against their oppressors, which in this story is the serf against his master. The story again portrays the imposition of Christianity on the indigenous people, as the indigenous serfs are made to recite “Hail Mary” and “Our Father”. However, in the end, the pongo is able to stand up for himself and rise up against his master, the oppressor, in the telling of his dream. I really enjoyed the fact that, while this story also showed resistance of the oppressed people, similar to the legends of Asturias, it showed this resistance in a clever, witty way, all the while feeding the ego of the oppressor!


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