Our Lives are but Stories: Narratives of Tunisian-Israeli Women

Our Lives are but Stories: Narratives of Tunisian-Israeli Women

by Esther Schely-Newman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814328768

ISBN-13: 9780814328767

Pub. Date: 08/28/2002

Publisher: Wayne State University Press

Our Lives Are But Stories explores the crucial role of personal storytelling in the lives of a unique generation of women—Jewish women who left the Muslim country of Tunisia to settle in the newly created Israeli state. To this day, the older generation of Tunisian Israelis continues to rely on storytelling as a form of education, entertainment, and

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Overview

Our Lives Are But Stories explores the crucial role of personal storytelling in the lives of a unique generation of women—Jewish women who left the Muslim country of Tunisia to settle in the newly created Israeli state. To this day, the older generation of Tunisian Israelis continues to rely on storytelling as a form of education, entertainment, and socialization. But for women this art has taken on new dimensions, especially as they seek to impart their values to the young. Here Esther Schely-Newman expertly interweaves the personal accounts of the private lives of four Tunisian-Israeli women to analyze the rich complexities of communication. She considers how various approaches to narration reflect storytelling as a cultural phenomenon and highlights the need to understand stories in the contexts in which they are told.

The four narrators grew up in a culture in which women’s stories were confined to the private sphere, were usually told to other women, and were supposedly fiction—or at least metaphors masking their real lives. Forced migration to farming communities in Israel and the shock of being uprooted created new identities for women and new outlets for storytelling. Women narrators increasingly began to tell more openly of their personal lives. Schely-Newman organizes her narrators’ accounts by the themes of childhood, marriage, motherhood, immigration, and old age and considers a wide range of factors that shape the narration, including audience, intent, choice of language, and Jewish-Muslim culture. The result is a fascinating blend of analysis, narration, and history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814328767
Publisher:
Wayne State University Press
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Series:
Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Preface7
Introduction9
1Childhood29
Becoming a Woman30
Going to School34
Personal Narrative in Family Settings37
A Joint Venture43
Strategies of Contention45
What If She Can Tell Her Story49
2Marriage51
Judeo-Tunisian Weddings52
Finding One's Luck62
Getting Married64
Fighting or Accepting?69
Performance as Boundary Setting72
Tales of Love, Tales of Fate75
3Motherhood77
Being a Jewish Woman78
Discourse of Procreation81
Male Exclusion84
How Stories Are Born: Conversational Narratives87
What Is the Text?94
Once a Mother, Always a Mother95
4Immigration97
Women's Stories: Truth and Genre98
Choosing to Immigrate101
Encountering Reality: A Nightly Arrival104
Taking Charge: Life Changes106
Armed Women: Active Protection108
"Instant" Transformation114
Gaining a Voice: Entitlement to an Audience117
A New Woman?118
5Everyone's Grandmother121
Being an Older Woman122
Mores and Values130
Talking as Old Women133
Women of Valor149
Conclusion151
AppFull Narrative Texts163
1Biya in School165
2Therese in the Well169
3Biya Wins Shimon171
4Bread, Shabbat, and Miscarriage173
5Women and Guns 1179
6Women and Guns 2183
7Mama Kuka's Story187
Notes191
Bibliography203
Index219

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