Sample Literature Review Paper on Native American Oral Tradition

Native American oral tales and themes are part of the traditional Native American
literature pieces by the indigenous people of America. Oral tales were part of the Americans'
social and cultural practices despite being nomadic hunters or agriculturalists. As they camped
around the fire in the night, Native Americans would be taken through different stories and
themes by a good storyteller (Melvin, 2). The narrator would use imaginative skills, gestures and
songs to tell stories pegged to specific cultures. One most common skill of storytelling that the
narrator used was the repetition of incidences. The description of particular events would be
repeated an exact number of times and usually considered sacred by the culture (Melvin, 4). For
Christian traditions, the holy is deemed to be three depicting the trinity. On the other hand, in the
Native American, the sacred was mostly associated with four, which represented the deities and
the cardinal direction associated with each.
One of the most major characteristics of a good piece of literature is an author's ability to
navigate through the narrative and the universal themes. Native American literature is rich in
modern characters, mainly in the form of insects, animals and elements. Their stories have
universal themes that resonate well throughout the oral tales (Wayne, 19). The American oral tales
have cultural diffusion, which is a result of universal themes. Most of the common universal
themes that can be traced through the American oral tales include; politics and power, love and
romance, life and death, conflict and war, the American dream, man, and nature. Of all these

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universal themes, politics and power have stood out in several stories. For instance, in the oral
tale about the American Indian Thought, the theme of politics and governance has dominated the
entire piece of literature (Wayne, 23). The American piece of oral tales talks about oral traditions
and highly on politics of power and recognition.

Works Cited

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Melvin, Emaign. “Native American Literature – Oral Literatures.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 5
Apr. 2019,
Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.
Wayne. “Week 2 Lecture Notes: ENGL-213 Amer Literature I Fl 13 E1
(SHOWCASE).”, 7 Aug. 2019,