Themes of Subsistence Losing Anxieties among the Arsi Area Peasant Folk Literature

  • Yeshaw Tesema Yideg
  • Yosef Beco Dubi


This paper examined the role of folk literature in portraying peasant anxieties relating to subsistence life. By applying a qualitative method, a purposive sampling technique was used, in which twenty-eight genres were selected for intensive analysis. The data were collected from local farmers of Arsi, around Robe areas, through note taking, tape and video recording techniques. The materials were organized and analyzed following stocktaking and sample analysis methodology. It becomes the central theme nearly in all tales, songs, myths, etc that the folk literature depicts subsistence insecurity. The case of recurrence is discussed considering aesthetics, socio- and psycho-economic perspectives. Aesthetics-related perspective refers to literary color and suggestiveness. This, in turn, has enabled the themes of anxieties persist, just using literary and performatory allure as their masks. The folk literature also makes use of mythic views to secure its survival. The strong attachments between subsistence and nature have obliged peasants to stay under the supremacy of mythic outlooks. The folk literature preserves these outlooks which assist the preservation and diffusion of the themes of anxieties. Socio-economic realities reinforce, inevitably, peasant folk literature which is characterized by subsistence anxieties. The folk literature, naturally, suits the natural behavior of peasant life. Since folk literature is a code which mediate the interior-self with the exterior material concern, the peasant psycho-economic reality desires the existence of the folk literature.

Keywords: Folk literature; Losing anxieties; Peasant; Persistence; Subsistence

Author Biographies

Yeshaw Tesema Yideg

Kotebe Metropolitan University, Faculty of Languages and Humanities, Department of Ethiopian Languages and Literature

Yosef Beco Dubi

Kotebe Metropolitan University, Faculty of Languages and Humanities, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature