Ch 21: The Oral Tradition

About This Chapter

Brush up on your understanding of the oral tradition in literature with our video lessons and quizzes. Get information on Native American storytelling, Greek epic poems and the Old English tale of ''Beowulf.''

The Oral Tradition - Chapter Summary

This chapter's lessons can help you review information on the oral tradition of storytelling. It includes many examples to give you an idea of the types of tales being discussed. You'll look at the stories of Native Americans, including those of the great Central and South American empires.

Our instructors explore the Greek epic of The Odyssey and examine the Old English tale of Beowulf. You'll also study James Joyce's 20th century Ulysses and see how it calls to mind older literary traditions. By the time you've watched all these lessons, you should know more about:

  • The history of oral storytelling
  • Native American oral tradition and its influence on literature
  • The artistic and oral traditions of the Inca, Maya and Aztecs
  • The Odyssey
  • Beowulf's story, characters and language
  • Structure, style and characters of Ulysses

These lessons average about five minutes in length, and you can watch them whenever it's convenient via computer, smartphone or tablet. Multiple-choice lesson quizzes and a chapter exam let you assess your understanding of the topics discussed. The answer keys include clickable links that let you review information on questions you answered incorrectly.

8 Lessons in Chapter 21: The Oral Tradition
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Oral Tradition of Storytelling: Definition, History & Examples

1. Oral Tradition of Storytelling: Definition, History & Examples

As old as man himself, the oral tradition of storytelling is a hallmark element of the human experience all over the world. Explore the healing powers of storytelling through a definition, discussion of history, and examples. Then, put your new expertise to the test with a quiz.

Native American Oral Tradition: Heritage and Literary Influence

2. Native American Oral Tradition: Heritage and Literary Influence

Native American nations have a rich oral tradition of storytelling. In this lesson, we'll explore the heritage and themes of American Indian stories and look at how they influenced later American literature.

Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Inca

3. Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Inca

In this lesson, you will explore the language and art of the great Inca civilization of South America. Then, you be able to test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Aztec

4. Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Aztec

In this lesson, you will explore how art and language were deeply connected in the Aztec Empire, a powerful culture that controlled Central America. Then, you will be able to test your understanding about the Aztec Empire, their language, and their art with a brief quiz.

Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Maya

5. Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Maya

In this lesson, you will explore the art and language of the Maya, one of the highly sophisticated cultures of the ancient Americas. Then, you will be able to test your understanding with a brief quiz.

The Odyssey: Greek Epic

6. The Odyssey: Greek Epic

This lecture provides a rough outline of the exploits of Odysseus in Homer's epic poem ''The Odyssey''. You'll learn plot details about this epic poem, in addition to hearing about how this important tale relates to Greek culture and literary works throughout history.

Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

7. Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

In this lesson, we'll take a look at the Old English epic, Beowulf. We'll explore what happens, how it's written and why it has such a lasting legacy.

Ulysses: Structure, Style, and Characters

8. Ulysses: Structure, Style, and Characters

For James Joyce's masterpiece, we'll look at the differences between protagonists Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, understand what Homer's Odyssey has to do with the structure, and talk about the novel's ever-shifting style.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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