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A Mayan Life

"A Mayan Life" is a folktale excerpted from the first novel ever written by a Mayan writer and translated by Fernando Penalosa. Reading this tale, "we live the drama of an oppressed people struggling to survive and maintain their dignity five centuries after the Spanish invasion." It is rich in ethnological detail, which gives us insight into all that is important to the Mayan understanding of the meaning of life. Here is the link to the text, A_Mayan_Life, which you can read after looking over the instructions below.

Before reading the tale:

1. Print the folktale and read Part I to the picture of Mekel's hut. Answer the questions for Part I on page_#2.

2. Read Part II up to the section, "A boy had been born." Answer the questions to Part II on page_#3.

3. Read Part III, "A boy had been born," and answer the questions to Part III on page_#4.

4. Work on page_#5, which will cover all of the figures of speech in the folktale: personification, simile, and metaphor.
When you understand these figures of speech, you will surely have a great sense of appreciation for this folktale.

Listen to some Mayan names and words you will encounter:
Jolomk'u The name of the village in the tale
  Ajaw the name of a Mayan god
 nawalesevil spirits
  Mekel and Lotaxh the husband and wife in the tale
  Ewul the midwife called on to help during childbirth
  guipiles and capixay items of clothing worn by the Mayans
  Thirteen Ajaw and One Imox Mayan dates or special days
  ox q'in a festival to celebrate childbirth

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Content development by Kathleen Hanson, San Jose City College.
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