What can we learn about the way that folk storytelling operates for tellers and audience members by examining the telling of stories by characters within such narratives? I examine Maithil women’s folktales in which stories of women’s suffering at the hands of other women are first suppressed and later overheard by men who have the power to alleviate such suffering. Maithil women are pitted against one another in their pursuit of security and resources in the context ofpatrilineal formations. The solidarities such women nonetheless form—in part through sharing stories and keeping each other’s secrets—serve to mitigate their suffering and maintain a counter-system of ideational patterns and practices.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.