Animals as Real Animals or Animals as Absent Referents? A comparative Study of Folk English and Persian Lullabies


RASTI Malikeh

Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description “It must be remembered that the dance was not the only primitive activity, the rhythm of which evoked that of song. The rocking of the cradle was another” (Opie 19) Being highly cultural, lullabies-genesis of all songs- are a significant genre of Folk Literature in almost every nation. Assuming the age of lullabies to be at least 4000 years, they include various themes from which this article is supposed to study the themes of animals (as well as birds and insects) in selected folk English and Persian lullabies. Furthermore, the present paper discusses how the concept of animals is represented in the lullabies regarding the term “absent referent”-“a subject whose identity becomes lost in a one-sided metaphorical comparison meant to illustrate the condition of another” (De Angelis 232)- coined by the feminist literary theorist, Carol J. Adams presented in her book, The Sexual Politics of Meat. While specifically comparing and contrasting how these two culturally and linguistically different languages have employed animals, this article identifies the animality of animals in these folk songs to distinguish literary or folk animals from real ones. Studying some showcases of folk English and Persian lullabies, this article argues to what extent English and Persian lullaby singers not only have not seen animals as the objects representing the human traits and features, but also have been aware of their existence as real animals. Hereby, the lullaby singer is acting as a camera or a reporter that records and tells of the life of animals. Nevertheless, they have also employed animals in some lullabies as the absent referents to nurture the infants depicting some animals that have metamorphosed into human beings who can talk, sleep and live as they do.
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