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The Ecology of the Spoken WordAmazonian Storytelling and Shamanism among the Napo Runa$
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Michael A. Uzendoski and Edith Felicia Calapucha-Tapuy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036569

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036569.001.0001

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The Twins and the Jaguars

The Twins and the Jaguars

(p.100) Chapter 5 The Twins and the Jaguars
The Ecology of the Spoken Word

Michael A. Uzendoski

Edith Felicia Calapucha-Tapuy

University of Illinois Press

This chapter employs the verse analysis method developed by Dell Hymes to analyze an Amazonian Quichua myth-narrative, “The Twins and the Jaguars,” from the province of Napo. The narrative's theme, “becoming a jaguar,” is expressed through a rhetorical logic of onset, ongoing, and outcome that unfolds as a structural transformation relation between humans and mythical jaguars. This structural transformation relation is mediated by a third element, the twins, who not only lend movement to structure but also advance the development of drama by obviating previous relations as a dynamic synecdoche. The chapter demonstrates the major contours of performative complexity involved in Amazonian Quichua narration of traditional mythical knowledge and the importance of the jaguar as an active and dominant symbolic “sign” of “becoming” in Napo Runa cosmology and culture. It shows that narrative performance emerges as an important artistic, cultural, and religious tool for experiencing the “transcendence” of everyday human form.

Keywords:   verse analysis, Amazonian Quichua myth-narrative, Napo Runa mythology, Quichua storytelling, cosmology, narrative performance

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