Reading tricksters or tricksters reading? An examination of various roles of reading in Thomas King's Green grass, running water
O'Brien, Doris Mary
Master of Arts
SubjectTricksters in literature
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This thesis explores the Integrative storytelling methods which Thomas King employs in his novel Green Grass, Running Water. This novel includes and focusses on oral storytelling methods concerning listener participation, and also on literary allusions and symbolism, to prompt the reader into an interactive trickster role to make things happen in discourse. In order for the reader to understand that he/she has an interactive role. King must give many different examples of reading and roles of reading and storytelling. I explore four main roles and character groups in this thesis. The first are the four old Indians, who exemplify and set the standard for storytelling in this novel; the second is Coyote, who is a reckless participant, but more importantly a student with whom the reader can identify; the third group are the characters, Eli, Lionel, and Bursom, who are realistic readers in relation to the reader’s position - they are most like a reader; and lastly, the narrator, whose role as a voyeur and non-directive teacher to Coyote and the reader is consistent throughout the novel. Each of these roles demonstrates the various levels of oral storytelling and implies a great amount of power to the reader in his/her role as interpreter and trickster of discourse. To further demonstrate each of the groups' roles. King has loosely separated the four levels of narrative that each of these groups inhabit. I am using Genette’s and Rimmon-Kenan’s terminology to examine the various levels of diegesis and to deconstruct and delineate how the various characters’ powers in crossing the diegetic boundaries in this novel prompt the reader into self awareness and push him/her towards a transformative and interactive reading experience.