Sun Indiata As An Epic Hero In Sundiata

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The concept of the literary epic is challenged in Sundiata. The tale follows the story of man named Maghan Sundiata. Born slow and weak, Sundiata is portrayed the underdog, a boy who couldn’t even walk until the age of seven. However, once standing, he stood tall. Sundiata is truly Africa’s epic hero. Possessing the qualities of a natural-born leader, Sundiata rises from a poor and weak son born to an undesirable mother to become the king of a large Malian empire. We learn Sundiata to be clever, merciful, and strong. Perhaps most of all, Sundiata is willful. The epic explains in great detail the creation of the Mali Empire, centered on the legends of Timbuktu. Through each chapter, Sundiata slowly rises to power. The episodic nature of Sundiata gives the reader a unique experience. Unlike Western epics, Sundiata’s deliberate use of the African oral tradition is central to its teachings. Many West African cultural influences and societal norms are…show more content…
His troubled childhood and dependence on others for help in times of need are a testament to the diversity of greatness. Sundiata remains hopeful in some of the most difficult times. Even his inexperience on the battlefield fails to prevent him from success. However, Niane presents this oral history in spite of traditional Western historical epics and legends that follow similar narratives. He does this to emphasize the importance of oral histories in the absence of written sources. Thus, in addition to the adventures and achievements of Sundiata, the story of Balla Fasséké (griot to Sundiata) is essential to maintain this literary technique throughout the story. Without the poet to celebrate the victories of a king like Sundiata, the oral tradition in which the story itself is rooted would be lost. Both characters require the other. This dual adventure and sharing of responsibilities is what makes Sundiata a particularly unique non-Western

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