Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Chromatic Fantasy

Here's a fascinating article about chromatic fantasy -- black authors revisioning epic fiction with a combination of cultural sources, often featuring characters of color.  This makes me happy!  I want to see writers exploring more different types of storytelling, inspiration, characters, and so forth.

Though I think there's more to Tolkien than people give him credit for, when it comes to being something that black readers could relate to.  Come on: Being told you have to be the thief because ... why?  Your wizard "friend" says so?  The halfling ALWAYS does it?  (The Hobbit)  Or being dragged off to somebody else's war and having the saving of the world heaped on your nappy little head, because ... why?  Some bunch of overpowered idiots are fighting over poltics and morals and treasure that YOU'RE never gonna see; power that you carry but are repeatedly warned never to use.  And they'll diss your friends for smoking a little pipeweed too.  (The Lord of the Rings)  

*laugh*  I've had fun  revealing the hidden cultural parallels of favorite books for ethnic readers.  It's kind of like playing "Shakespeare in the Bush."  You have to look past the wrapper on the characters and consider what you might, or might not, have in common with their experiences.  I used to do this in the prison classes -- along with assigning literature by black and Hispanic authors, I'd also assign some stuff by white authors and invite the students to look for common ground.  Fairly often they'd come back with, "Hey, this hero dude sounds like a brother after all."  And once they've learned to see deeply ... the world is never the same.
Tags: ethnic studies, fiction, networking, reading

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