Friday, February 17, 2012

AS SEEN ON TV: ANANSI THE SPIDER



ANANSI THE SPIDER

AS SEEN IN:
'Wishbone'

AS PLAYED BY:
Wishbone

ORIGINS:
African Folklore

ADAPTED BY:
Gerald McDermott

TV DIMENSION:
Not Applicable

STATUS:
Dream Figure

From Wikipedia:
Anansi the trickster is a spider, and is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore.

He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the tricksters Coyote, Raven or Iktomi found in many Native American cultures.

The Anansi tales are believed to have originated with the Ashanti people in Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria.

Ananse tales are some of the best-known in West Africa The stories made up an exclusively oral tradition, and indeed Ananse himself was synonymous with skill and wisdom in speech. It was as remembered and told tales that they crossed to the Caribbean and other parts of the New World with captives via the Atlantic slave trade.

Stories of Ananse became such a prominent and familiar part of Ashanti oral culture that the word Anansesem — "spider tales" — came to embrace all kinds of fables. Peggy Appiah, who collected Ananse tales in Ghana and published many books of his stories, wrote: "So well known is he that he has given his name to the whole rich tradition of tales on which so many Ghanaian children are brought up — anansesem — or spider tales." Elsewhere they have other names, for instance Ananse-Tori in Suriname, Nansi in Guyana, and Kuent'i Nanzi in Curaçao.

"Anansi the Spider" is a short film and a 1972 book, both by Gerald McDermott. The book won the 1972 Caldecott Honor medal for illustration. In 1973 it won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. It tells, with little text and bold, colourful illustrations, how Anansi was rescued by his sons, each contributing to the rescue. It also explains how the moon came to be in the sky.



BCnU!

1 comment:

Abigail Watson said...

Awesome! :) I like Anansi, and I also like how Wishbone starred as Anansi in one part of the episode "Bark that Bark" from Season 1 of the TV series Wishbone, too. :)