Tales from the Hispanic Southwest

    Contributing Editor: Genaro M. Padilla

    Classroom Issues and Strategies

    Students may need to be reminded that these tales are usually performed orally. So, instructors should help students recreate the oral tradition out of which they emerge. I often read these tales aloud and try to actually reconstruct the performative features of the tale.

    Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues

    See headnote.

    Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions

    Again, the cultural value attached to oral tradition and collective audience should be borne in mind.

    Original Audience

    The best/ideal audience is youngsters who are still shaping their social and ethical beliefs.

    Comparisons, Contrasts, Connections

    Other folk tale types should be useful, especially those sustained by other immigrant groups--Italians, Greeks, etc.

    Questions for Reading and Discussion/ Approaches to Writing

    1. (a) What are our common ideas about death? Why do we avoid discussing death?

    (b) How do stories entertain us into ethical behavior?

    2. (a) Students might compare these tales with others they have heard or read.

    (b) They might consider the "usefulness" of the moral tales in a largely secular world.