Storytelling was a historical method that played a large role in my project. Songs are essentially someone telling their story to a melody. One danger to storytelling is that the storyteller tends to play to their audience. This was evident in the article, “Under Storytelling’s Spell? Oral History in a Neoliberal Age.” One aspect that I enjoyed learning about in this article is StoryCorps. Here is a video of my favourite that I found:
This story touched me because it demonstrates the value of storytelling. The stories that this girl read were what got her through the days of hunger and depression. This encompasses the true meaning of storytelling. Historians should not necessarily look to stories told as facts that can be put in encyclopedias. They could, however, look to the themes and narratives of the stories to see what people valued and treasured. If someone is telling a story about defeating a giant, then they most likely felt there was a giant that seemed undefeatable, but the story gives inspiration to rise above the norms and try to defeat the giant.
Storytelling is often associated with embellishment, but that does not make this method total useless. Every history has some sort of storytelling aspect. Someone journeys from their home to their new home, or people fight in wars. It is a historian’s job to tell the story of the past. It is also a historian’s job to make the story as accurate as possible. If they choose to embellish a story, it is, in sense, still an interpretation of a past event which is what history is all about.
Storytelling and oral history is one of the main reasons history exists. People wanted their ancestor and their own stories to be heard so that they would be remembered or the same mistakes would not be repeated.
Freund, A., “Under Storytelling’s Spell? Oral History in a Neoliberal Age,” Oral History Review, 42, 1 (2015): 96-132.