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Speak, Bird, Speak AgainPalestinian Arab Folktales$
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Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780520062924

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520062924.001.0001

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Notes on Presentation and Translation

Notes on Presentation and Translation

(p.51) Notes on Presentation and Translation
Speak, Bird, Speak Again

Ibrahim Muhawi

University of California Press

This chapter presents a Palestinian folktale that focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter. The opening episode demonstrates the importance of having children (a major theme in the culture), and subsequent events in the tale demonstrate the economic value children have for the family. It is significant that the woman in the story should ask for a daughter rather than a son, but, in addition to the emotional bonds which hold mother and daughter together, an economic motive is operating in the tale as well. The mother's initial wish is not only for a daughter, but also for a source of income, and her willingness to let her daughter out of the house is conditioned by her poverty. The daughter, for her part, does not want to remain “on the shelf,” which is considered the proper place for a woman—well scrubbed and beautiful, but out of sight. She wants to go out and see the world.

Keywords:   Palestinian folktale, mother, daughter, children, economic value

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