(redirected from Trickster figure)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


a mythic figure common among Native North Americans, South Americans, and Africans. Usually male but occasionally female or disguised in female form, he is notorious for exaggerated biological drives and well-endowed physique; partly divine, partly human, and partly animal, he is an often amoral and comic troublemaker. The Winnebago trickster Wakdjunkaga scattered all creation across the earth through his flatulence. Natives of the Pacific NW believe that the Raven, after miniaturizing himself and entering the daughter of a chief, was able to emerge disguised as an infant and steal the box in which the chief hid the sun, thus bringing light into the world. Peoples of the plateaus of the NW United States believe that good fishing is found near settlements that gained the favor of the coyote by allowing him to copulate with their women. Tales of tricksters are ironic arenas in which corporeality and transcendence, the individual and society, meaning and the absurd, are mediated and celebrated.
References in periodicals archive ?
Trickster figures during slavery often conducted deadly serious business amidst a precarious, imbalanced power relationship.
Along these lines, he utilizes the trickster figure Nezumi Otoko from Kitaro to narrate the events in Showa, such as military maneuvers and the complex politics of imperialism in China.
While the story focuses on the characters Jake and Mike and their growing affections for one another, it also features Nanabush, a trickster figure, who like the Coyote in Miguel's play and Miss Chief Eagle Testickle in Monkman's works, functions as somewhat of an archetypal device within Indigenous theatre, performance, and storytelling.
Scott Littleton entertainingly illustrates how Kirk can be read as a trickster figure and Spock as Osiris, concluding that "what ultimately emerges [from Star Trek] is a secularized mythology of the future" (45).
He researches the animal's role in Native American culture as a trickster figure, then circulates stories to the neighbors about the coyote eating a local dog.
This scene thus foreshadows Rhoda's own change to trickster figure, a movement sealed by Henry's consciously transferring powers to her later in the novel.
Coyote is an embodiment of the Trickster figure so central to many First Nations cultures and might also be called, variously, Nanabush, Raven or Rabbit.
In his subsequent chapters, Leiter teases out the stereotype's connections to white national identity (in Black No More), white communal identity (in Light in August), white femininity (in Gone with the Wind), and white masculinity (in The Fathers), while simultaneously unfolding an argumentative arc concerning the "literary evolution of the supposed black sexual threat from subversive trickster figure to badman as overt arbiter of racial revenge" (15).
The motorcycle rider is possibly the mischief-making incarnation of the Ojibwa's trickster figure Nanabush, and the town of Otter Lake turns upside with a silliness that they have never experienced before.
Rodriguez opens the third section with a series of poems featuring Coyote, the trickster figure in Native American mythology, before presenting poems about family.
At the center of this layering is a trickster figure, the mysterious Frenchman Rudolf Born, who takes on and sheds such a variety of roles--visiting professor, benefactor of the arts, secret agent, suitor, murderer--that the characters whose lives he enters can never pin him down.
Leafy became the godfather of the counterculture, an irrepressible trickster figure who hung with the Beatles and served time in prison and exile before becoming an early apostle of cyberspace whose ashes were shot into orbit after his death in 1996.