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Coyote's Got a Bad Rap || Reading Notes: California and the Old Southwest Part B

But maybe he prefers it that way...

  • I like that all we learn about Duck from this first story is that she was:
    • Created
    • Small
    • She died almost immediately because she got some mud in her beak.
  • An interesting origin story for El Capitan. 
    • I wonder why the boulder was growing in the first place.
    • Why did the boys sleep so long?
    • Could these be things to explain in a retelling?
  • So the boys turned into agave? reason?
    • Could explain this in a retelling.
    • Interesting story with the father testing them so much.
  • So the next story has a youth become a god.
    • He learns dances and songs from around the world?
    • And takes them back to his people to teach them.
    • They wear masks during the dances to represent the other gods that danced with the youth.
  • I feel like the Raven and Macaw story is an explanation of why different some parts of the world have four seasons and why some only have two (wet and dry).
    • The Raven people stay in the north and have to toil to grow crops and winter comes every year.
    • The Macaw people may be further south where there is no real winter and things grow pretty easily year-round.
  • So in the previous stories coyote tended to die for his trickery.
    • Here is tricked in return.
    • Although in the second one his kids die as a result.
      • Why did the deer need to trick coyote?
      • Was coyote hunting the deer? Or did he just run into them by chance?
  • It's very interesting that someone who has such a pivotal role in most of these creation stories is also a trickster who ends up hungry, humiliated, or dead most of the time.
  • The story with the quails is messed up.
    • They cut his own flesh for themselves and then tricked him into eating it.
    • Then they tricked him into letting them go.
    • And coyote STILL dies at the end.
  • The bluebird story is more okay.
    • Coyote doesn't die.
    • He's sort of justly punished for some hubris.
  • Coyote does seem to get greedy and always wants what other animals seem to have already.
  • Coyote makes a lot of requests of the sky people.
    • Is the result of his deal with she-skunk his punishment? Or is it a punishment for tricking and killing all those rabbits?

By: Katharine Berry Judson

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