Broken narratives in the immigrant folktale
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-23, 17:16 authored by Senem Yekenkurul
Folktales contain a life-force embedded within their structure. Life narratives are carried along in an autobiographical form as folktales are transmitted from one generation to another. This autobiographical nature of folktales inspires the unique approach of narrative identity in understanding the construction of a meaningful self-identity. Growing up, my mother would tell me Turkish Arab folktales. Today, I realise not only the impact they have had on my life but also on my mother’s. One folktale, which I title The Angel, when contextualised in accordance with the storyteller’s (my mother’s) life, produces some dazzling insights into the reason behind the telling. The Angel is embedded in the life histories of my grandmother and mother and is abundant with insight into their life-worlds. The experience of the fragmentation caused by migration and the choices made has turned The Angel into a ‘broken narrative’. Their life story is the driving force behind the telling of the folktale and can be a touchstone for children who seek to locate themselves within the narratives of significant others and broader social structures.