Sundiata Essay

Djeli Mamoudou Kouyate
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In the following excerpt, the critic discusses characteristics of African heroic epics and notes ways that Sundiata (here called Sunjata) both conforms to and differs from other such epics.

[For] each epic tradition there seems to be a central core. In the various known versions of the Sunjata epic, [there] is a clear-cut central core of thematic material. It includes events leading to the birth of the hero, the hero's youth and exile from the Mande, and the hero's return to reconquer the Mande from Sumanguru. Each major set includes a recurring number of episodes.

Underlying the various epics are, of course, many of the quasi-universal epic patterns, with many variations from culture to culture and within the same culture. To give a few examples, the epics illustrate many different cases of a miraculous conception and birth. One hero is born the same day that he was conceived...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 591 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sundiata Study Guide
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