Nyle Davis 

Illustration I: Final Project Part 1

Story Proposal 


            For the final project I want to focus on a protagonist of West African and Caribbean mythology and folklore, Anansi the Spider. Over the years, several stories were written about Anansi, with several variations-sometimes he is depicted as a spider, sometimes he is depicted as a man with spiderlike abilities. Originally Anansi is depicted as a spider who uses his wit and cunning to outsmart and defeat enemies much larger than himself. In one of his tales, he even manages to outsmart and capture the Lion, king of all beasts. The story I’ll focus on will be the West African origin story “Anansi and the God of Ashanti”. In this story, Anansi approached Nyame, the Ashanti god of wisdom to ask for the box of wisdom. Thinking it was impossible for him to do, Nyame then said if he could capture creatures larger than himself, he would grant him all knowledge and power. Anansi outsmarted a python, by challenging him to prove that he was longer than bamboo. When the python itself stretched out, Anansi tied its tail to a bamboo tree, essentially trapping the snake. To capture a tiger, he dug a hole and covered it with twigs and leaves. When the tiger came along, he fell into the hole, Anansi offered to help. He spun a web for the tiger to use to climb out. As the tiger climbed higher, he became entangled in the sticky web. The more the tiger struggled, the more entangled he became, until finally he could not move and was captured. The Ashanti god Nyame was so impressed by Anansi’s cunning, that he granted him all knowlegde and power.

In rereading this story, I realized that the version told in Ghana depicts Anansi as a man with spiderlike abilities who usually comes up against foes larger and stronger than himself. I’ll use this as the premise and reinterpret Anansi as a modern day hero who now posses all knowledge and superhuman powers, but still uses his wit, cunning and intellect to outsmart and defeat opponents much larger than himself. The setting will be in a major metropolis, (possibly New York), and the character will be the everyman hero who fights for the little guys.

Resources: https://mythology.net/mythical-creatures/anansi/


A screenshot of Anansi trapping a tiger in his web.
I found this image online showing how Anansi captured the tiger