Commentary on Coyote and Brother Crow

Joe Gladstone


Tricksters, by their very nature, are able to transgress boundaries of time and space. They are found in many cultures across many continents in this world, and perhaps beyond. They serve similar roles wherever they go, pointing out what we as people need to know so as to fittingly live in our place and time (Radin, 1956). Sometimes tricksters point out the obvious, such as the boy who announced that the king was naked, while others leave it to us to interpret their actions. Tricksters’ actions can be socially acceptable or taboo, and we learn vicariously through the consequences of their acts. Regardless whether their messages are explicit or implicit; our role in their story is to make sense of these behaviors that tricksters act out on our behalf. The trick, then, is making sense of their stories. 

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