Marlurlukurlu : The Youth single work   prose   dreaming story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1994 1994
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  • 'Translator's note:

    The story of the marlurlu, a boy old enough to be an initiate, is an intense family drama, one with tragic consequences which, in this version, narrator Kajingarra Napangardi has been able to make very clear. She has added to the plot both a dramatic intensification of the psychological conflict and a depth of dramatic irony other versions of the story do not have. The boldest addition is her introduction of the vengeful fury-like bird before the boy commits his awful but necessary crime, prefiguring and ironically pointing to the hideous and tragic logic of the conclusion when the boy, who refused all food except what his mother game him, is finally forced by hunger to leave the shelter of the cave. Outside the eagle is poised and retribution follows.

    The jukurrpa itself contains elements familiar to many from the family dramas of the Greek tragedians: an incestuous conflict between son and father for the attentions of the mother in which a fundamental balance is upset by the inappropriate victory of the son, and the consequences - rage, death, a necessary sequence of acts of revent - before the social univers is cleansed and restored. A major imperative in Warlpiri social life is that offenses must be met by the appropriate restitution, known as "kunka " or "pay-back" ... In this way, the tragic loss of the marlurlu story is set in motion and moves on to its inevitable conclusion.'

    (Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, p. 71)

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Last amended 1 Apr 2010
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