At the end of this lesson, you will find a list of questions. Read each of the questions and select one that you would like to answer for your blog assignment.
In order to respond to the assignment in this lesson, I chose question 1, which examines more closely the two creation stories described by King in his book The Truth About Stories. The first part of this question is why does King create two distinct and separate dichotomies for the reader to examine the creation stories he provides? I think his reasoning goes back to Chamberlin’s description that humans are “animals who have language” (13). Chamberlin argues that it is this basic understanding that has caused human beings to develop categories of civilized and barbaric based on language and its usages. In the case of these two stories, one of the dichotomies created is that of co-operation and competition. Based on King’s descriptions, for our purposes, the story of “The Earth Diver” is the story of co-operation, and also the “barbaric” story. The other creation story is the bible’s “Genesis,” and is the story of competition, and also the “civilized” creation story.
The second part of this question asks why King emphasized the believability of one story over the other, in this case the “Genesis” story, which he told with an authoritative voice, as opposed to “The Earth Diver” (this is a video of a version of the creation story) story, which was told with a storytellers voice. The last question inquires as to why King presents these stories with the basis of analysis on oppositions in a row of dichotomies; what is he trying to show his readers? In order to begin to discuss these questions, I think it is important to examine believability, which ties into the categories of “co-operation” and “competition.” European culture is one based on hierarchy and competition within that hierarchy. They are also the “civilized” story, and the one told in an authoritative voice. “The Earth Diver” is the story with “co-operation” and also the “barbaric” and non-European story. “Genesis” is a written story, “The Earth Diver” is an oral story. King points out many dichotomies in order to show that there are no true parallel divisions. In our previous readings, Chamberlin explained that ceremony can be a connector between the two basic dichotomies of the “civilized” and the “barbaric.” Religious ceremonies, churches, weddings, and court process all are examples of modern practices that rely on oral traditions and ceremonies–things that belong to the category of “barbaric,” and therefor disrupt the category of “civilized” through their inclusion.
I think King’s overall goal in pointing out and then disrupting these dichotomies is to illustrate that the supposed way of determining differences is false. Each supposed dichotomy has influences from the other. Much of the racism in our society, and abuse of one people at the hands of another is based on supposed dichotomies. Us vs them. The “civilized” vs the “barbaric.” I think that by detailing these issues, and forcing his readers to analyze them, King is showing how human beings cannot be defined using such black and white terms. Neither can the culture of those human beings be defined with dichotomies. There is no “barbaric” or “civilized” as a singular term for any culture. People are a mix; their stories, ceremonies and traditions are a rich history.
“Archives.” Welcome to COHDS. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2016.
Chamberlin, J. Edward. If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?. Vintage Canada Edition, 2004. Print.
gyundt. “Earth Diver.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlOierP0iGg. Youtube. 13 Mar 2013. Web. 17 Jun 2016.
“Skywoman falling.” Digital image. Iroquois Creation Story I, n.d. Web. 17 Jun 2016.
“The second creation story.” Digital image. Conversation in Faith Weblog, 8 Oct 2008. Web. 17 Jun 2016.