Sharing Tradition by Frank LaPena
Summary of Sharing Tradition
The essay “Sharing Tradition” has been written by an American writer Frank LaPena. In this essay, the essayist has presented the concept of sharing tradition. In this essay, the sharing tradition through oral means or the oral tradition is clearly presented. According to the essayist, oral tradition refers to a form of art of human communication where knowledge, art, ideas and cultural materials are received, preserved and transmitted orally from generation to generation.
In other words, oral tradition is about passing on information related to cultures and values from generation to generation through oral means. It focuses on passing on culture and values from generation to generation through oral tradition. For this, we must listen to our elders’ stories. All individuals are responsible for sharing the tradition. Elders have the role of speakers and youngers have the role of listeners. For oral tradition, both the elders and young people play a vital role to maintain and preserving the values of the culture.
The knowledge of elders related to cultures, traditions, religions, and values must be listened to and followed properly by young people. The elders share the traditions and various concepts related to cultures and values with the young people. After the death of elderly people, young people have to fill up their places being responsible. They have to take responsibility for sharing tradition after elders through oral tradition to maintain cultures and values in their community. In this way, the oral tradition keeps on moving from generation to generation preserving cultures and values.
Problems in Maintaining Oral/Sharing Tradition
There are some problems on the way of maintaining oral/sharing tradition from generation to generation. These problems are stated as follows:
Difficulty in filling up the ‘niche’ of elders
It is very difficult to fulfil the roles of elders. Some elders have enhanced their life by creating special positions (niche). The task of filling their position by the youngers becomes very difficult in this situation too. The young people may not have their interests in their culture because the elders’ strongly follow their religions, ceremonies, dance etc. which are difficult for the young people to follow. In modern times, young people don’t prefer to listen to them and maintain culture and tradition. The niche of elders has become hard to fill up therefore there is a problem in passing oral tradition from generation to generation.
Impact of Modern Technology on Human Life
Each generation is faced with new and modern technology which replaces the old things and concepts. The population of the world is growing fast. To fulfil the demands of modern technology is necessary. In the name of development, natural resources are disturbed.
Traditional things are replaced with new things. People are seen as very busy with modern technology. They must use modern technology to run their life smoothly. They must leave useless traditional things. Human life is also busy because of modern technology. In this situation, it is difficult to maintain traditional and cultural values through oral means due to the lack of active listeners or followers.
Impact of the Modern Education System
In modern society, people learn things not only through oral tradition but they learn things through written materials too. The knowledge in the present time is perceived through making researches and collecting data. The researchers do not agree with oral materials because they may not be correct. They lack validity and reliability so the information related to oral tradition is even modified while printing. But, the information of oral tradition can be modified or even corrected through oral means.
The educational process forces people to accept the information from the printed pages which are full of errors and very difficult to correct. Therefore, the published information related to cultures and values creates a problem in passing on cultures and values from generation to generation orally.
Source of Information and Way of Perceiving it
In the oral tradition, the information is passed orally. It completely depends on oral means. It doesn’t have any writing records as a literary tradition. Sometimes the information passed by the speakers may have errors. Sometimes, the information is even perceived mistakenly by the listeners. Due to the gap between generations, the truth of the elders’ historical information might turn into fantasy for the listeners.
In this situation, it becomes quite difficult to validate oral tradition or traditional stories. There must be a proper understanding between the speakers and the listeners. The listeners must have belief in what they are listening to. The way of perceiving and transmitting information must be made keeping trust in our traditions and elders. In nutshell, oral tradition is a tradition in which elders pass on their concepts related to culture and values to young people through oral means.
It is very important to preserve culture and values. The roles of the elders and young people are very important in oral tradition. The elders pass tine information and the young people receive it. When the young people become elders, they start passing on the information to young people of their time so it is a process of sharing tradition from generation to generation.
About Author Frank LaPena
(1937-2019) was born in San Francisco, California. He attended a federal Indian boarding school in Stewart, Nevada. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chico State in 1965 and a Master of Arts in Anthropology at Sac State in 1978. He lectured widely on American Indian traditional and cultural issues, emphasizing California traditions.
He was a professor of art and former director of Native American Studies at California State University, Sacramento. His paintings, sculpture, and poetry reflect a deep understanding and love of his native heritage. He was a founding member of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, dedicated to the revival and preservation of Native arts.
He also published several volumes of poetry and wrote a report on contemporary California art activities for News from Native California. He was quite interested in the arts and traditions of Native Americans. He coedited Legends of Yosemite Miwok (1992) with Craig D. Bates and wrote Dream Songs and Ceremony: Reflections on Traditional California Indian Dance (2004). The essay ‘Sharing Tradition’ is about passing on culture and values from generation to generation through oral tradition. For this, we must listen to our elders’ stories.
Quick Summary of Sharing Tradition
This short essay “Sharing Tradition” has been written by an American writer Frank LaPena. This essay is about the importance of our culture and the values of our tradition and its preservation. This essay has mainly focused on the controlling idea of sharing tradition from generation to generation through oral means for the bright future of the world and its people. The task of sharing tradition is quite important where both the elders and the young people play very vital roles to preserve our norms, values, cultures of our tradition.
There must be continuous responsibility of generations to maintain our culture and values of tradition. The transmission of information from one generation to another generation through oral means must be authentic. It is very much important to listen to our elders to understand the real value of our tradition. The elders and their ideal positions in society make them the guardian and caretakers of our tradition. After them, their places are quite hard to fill up. The young people have to show their interest in their tradition and their elders’ words. They have to follow their elders and share the information with the coming generation being responsible to maintain our tradition. In the present time, the task of sharing tradition seems a bit harder than expectations. Various problems are seen in the area of oral tradition which are as follows:
- Difficulty in filling up the niche of elders in the matter of sharing tradition through oral tradition.
- The impacts of modern technology.
- The modern educational system and its impacts.
- Source of information and way of perceiving and sharing it.
Thus, an oral tradition is an art form where elders pass on their concepts related to culture and values to young people through oral means. It is an educational tool for understanding the natural world. The role of the elders and young people is so important in oral tradition. The concepts of elders remain immortal if their concepts are followed and properly transmitted by young people being responsible.
Questions & Answers of Sharing Tradition
Do you share your cultural traditions with your friends?
Answer: Yes, I share my cultural traditions with my friends. I tell them about my family’s rituals, ceremonies and cultural events. I have even invited my friends to attend religious ceremonies at my home many times.
Did your parents tell you stories when you were a child? If yes, did they have anything to do with your culture or values?
Answer: Yes, my parent told me stories when I was a child. Their stories related to religions had a direct connection with my own culture or values. Their religious stories taught me the actual sense of my religion and its norms and values.
Should we preserve our cultural values and traditions? Why?
Answer: Yes, we should preserve our cultural values and traditions. We should preserve them to maintain our cultural and traditional values in our life. Due to their preservation, our life can move ahead along with the right thoughts and decisions. Our cultural values and traditions always show us righteous paths in our lives.
Understanding the Text
According to LaPena, what is the importance of oral tradition? To what extent do you agree with his opinions and why?
Answer: According to LaPena, the importance of the oral tradition is to preserve and maintain the culture and values of our tradition from generation to generation through oral means. I fully agree with his opinions because the culture and values of tradition should be maintained and preserved cl os e Set Your Team Up for Success Grammarly’s Suite Of Tools Are Designed To Boost Team Productivity And Professionalism. Grammarly is Open from generation to generation for the welfare of the people and their life. Cultural and traditional values play very important roles in people’s life.
Who preserves and pass on the oral tradition?
Answer: An oral tradition is an art form where information related to culture and values are transmitted from generation to generation through oral means. Both the elders and young people play a vital role in preserving and passing on the oral tradition. Firstly, the task of preserving and passing on oral tradition is done by elders. Next, young people get this task. This task keeps on moving from generation to generation. The most important aspect is that both the elders and young people must be responsible for this task of preserving and passing on oral tradition.
What is the danger of not passing on information from generation to generation?
Answer: The danger of not passing information from generation to generation is that the culture and values of our tradition may extinct. People will have to survive a meaningless life without their cultural and traditional values.
What is the difference between oral tradition and literary tradition?
Answer: An oral tradition is an art form where information related to culture and values are transmitted from generation to generation through oral means. The errors in oral tradition can be modified and corrected anytime through oral means. Next, literary tradition refers to written as well as printed tradition where the information is transmitted through written means. Here in this literary tradition, the errors are quite hard to modify and correct.
- How does LaPena establish a relationship between art and oral tradition?
Answer: LaPena establishes a relationship between art and the oral tradition through his opinions where he has presented transmission of oral tradition from generation to generation. He says that the task of sharing tradition from generation to generation through oral means is an art form where the speakers (elders) and the listeners (young people or followers) have very important roles. This art form moves from generation to generation maintaining and preserving culture and values effectively. The information related to tradition is quite artistically transmitted through oral speech, folktales, ballads, chants, prose or verses etc. Oral tradition is a unique art through which the culture and values of tradition are preserved and maintained in this world.
Reference to the Context
LaPena states that oral tradition helps to maintain the values of a culture. If you believe that the oral tradition is important, how would you maintain it?
Answer: I would maintain oral tradition doing the following activities:
- I would try my best to provide information related to culture and values to the people through oral means.
- I would try to make people aware of the importance of oral tradition.
- I would share oral information being responsible.
- I would organise a team in my community to support our culture and values of tradition through oral means.
- I would inform about the advantages of oral tradition to my people.
- I would even ask my team members to pass authentic information to all the people through oral means.
“Not everyone is capable of fulfilling the roles of the elders.” Explain this statement with reference to the essay.
Answer: Not everyone is capable of fulfilling the roles of the elders. Elders are the basis of our tradition. Our culture and values are preserved and maintained by the elders initially. Their roles to maintain and preserve our culture and values of tradition are outstanding. They keep on preserving and maintaining our culture and values of tradition through oral means from generation to generation. Due to their vital roles, they become able to acquire ideal positions in their life. Their duties and obligations related to their cultural and traditional values as religions, ceremonies, dance etc reflect their lifestyle and the knowledge of their tradition which affect many individuals in the community. After the death of the elders, this niche is quite hard to fill up.
What is the controlling idea or thesis of this essay?
Answer: The controlling idea or thesis of this essay is all in all about sharing tradition through oral means and even its proper way of transmitting from generation to generation. This essay has presented the importance of sharing tradition for all the readers. The task of sharing tradition through oral means is an art form where both the elders and young people play a very vital role to maintain and preserving the culture and values of tradition. The task of sharing tradition has various problems on its way. Both the elders and young people must be responsible for their culture and values. They must trust each other and share the right information.
How do topic sentences guide the reader through the essay? What would be lost without them?
Answer: The topic sentences guide the readers providing them with various ideas related to the importance of sharing tradition through oral tradition. The topic sentences refer to those sentences that come initially in each paragraph. Here in this essay, these topic sentences have provided information related to the culture and values of tradition and the way of maintaining and preserving them. These topics have supported oral tradition and the way of maintaining and preserving the culture and values of tradition. We also find different problems on the way of oral tradition through these topic sentences. Without these topics many things will be lost in the essay which are as follows:
- The accurate concept of sharing tradition.
- Controlling the idea of the essay.
- Oral tradition and its importance.
- Roles of elders and young people.
- Problems in maintaining and preserving oral tradition.
- Solutions to maintain oral tradition.
What are the four major problems developed by LaPena with regard to maintaining the oral tradition? How are they used to structure the essay?
Answer: Following are the four major problems developed by LaPena with regard to maintaining the oral tradition:
- Difficulty in filling up the niche of elders in the matter of sharing tradition through oral tradition.
- The impacts of modern technology.
- Modern educational system and its impacts.
- Source of information and way of perceiving and sharing it. All these problems are used in a persuasive style to structure the essay. All these problems have been presented with examples along with their solutions too. These problems have been presented giving much preference to oral tradition.
Reference Beyond the Context
Write a paragraph or two explaining your attitude toward the oral tradition of passing along information.
Answer: I think oral tradition is one of the effective practices for all the people of this world to maintain and preserve the culture and values of tradition. Just as the writer, I also accept oral tradition as an art form where both the elders and young people perform their vital roles in maintaining and preserving the culture and values of tradition through passing authentic information from generation to generation. The practice of oral tradition is very important for all. Through oral tradition, we are able to preserve and maintain our cultural and traditional values. With the help of oral tradition, we can secure our cultural and traditional identity.
Our culture is our identity. Write a few paragraphs explaining how you intend to preserve your culture, values and norms.
Answer: Our culture is our identity. Our culture, values and norms play a very important role in our life. Our entire life depends on our culture. We are culturally linked with our civilization. Due to our culture, norms and values, we can do good with our life. These aspects teach us to choose the right paths, thoughts and decisions in our life. I intend to preserve my culture, values and norms doing the following activities:
- Celebrating every ceremony related to my culture.
- Making people aware of the importance of our culture, values and norms.
- Promoting cultural and traditional events in my community.
- Forming an organisation related to cultural heritage.
- Sharing information related to the culture and values of my tradition.