By Donald J. Cosentino
The domei is a well-liked narrative artwork shape one of the Mende humans of Sierra Leone. even though it is a standard shape, the narratives aren't remembered or retold, yet on every one celebration the performers recreate out of a typical inventory of characters and plots domeisia, that are singular and occasionally superb expressions of a novel, and infrequently superb, tradition. during this booklet Donald Cosentino offers a wide choice of those narratives, as he accrued them in dramatic functionality at the verandahs and round the cooking fires of a Mende village. The domei is informed to thrill, and Dr Cosentino info many of the parts that represent the excitement of an oral functionality. yet underneath the outside glitter of those ironic, scary, bawdy and haunting narrative performances, there's an highbrow hardness of argument and debate which shines in the course of the domeisia integrated the following. Dominating those performances, and emblematic of the complete inventive culture, are the 'everywoman' determine of the Defiant Maid, Yombo, and the 'everyman' obdurate Farmer, Kpana.
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Additional info for Defiant Maids and Stubborn Farmers: Tradition and Invention in Mende Story Performance
11. The verb kpua is the same as that used to describe the 'pulling out' of domeisia from njeps wovei. Mende mimesis 25 Being at the periphery of the human world, the secret societies fall at least partially under the gravitational pull of that other world: the ndogboi (bush). Physically both the kamtihun (Poro lodge) and the kpanguima are located at the edge of town, adjacent to the ndogboi. From the latter world emerge the Gbeni and the Sowei at the time of the kpua, and it is to that other world that these spirits return after their brief visits to the town.
Work assignments and food allotments may flow from the husband through her, and she may in turn be able to control relationships between the other wives and the husband. 6 The ambiguity of the senior wife's position within the maweei is not reflected in the images of the domei. As a narrative character, the senior wife is usually the 'heavy'. She is stripped of her social potential as a benevolent yie and presented instead as the narrative foil to the junior wife. In their narrative opposition the two domei characters emulate the relationship of Sowei and Gondei: the junior wife is divested of all but her innocence and good will, and then juxtaposed to a senior wife who is the personification of malevolence and jealousy.
It is a place where children develop fevers quickly and die. Although a man may encircle his farm with animal traps, and sprinkle it with medicines, he can never make it safe or predictable. Honableisia (witches), who are constrained into maintaining a daily facade of humanity in the town, metamorphose into bush animals and destroy farms at night. Often it is that favorite bete noire, the senior wife, who is also the witch intent on destroying the farms of her junior co-wife. In a popular domei image, a maweeimoi comes upon his senior wife now transformed into a werewoman and caught in one of his traps on the farm.
Defiant Maids and Stubborn Farmers: Tradition and Invention in Mende Story Performance by Donald J. Cosentino