Difficulties for Native Americans

Perhaps most of you remember Jacob Black, a werewolf from the catching saga “Twilight”. Native American Jacob and the other members of his tribe have had a long life history of colonization and pure economic politics, as well as rights on the native land in the past. The history of Indians’ survival enhances the readers as it is a twisted path of ups and downs on the way to liberation. Similarly, Zitkala-Sa as a Native American writer researches the theme of her difficult life of an Indian girl in the autobiographic book “American Indian Stories” as well as Louis Erdrich narrates about twists of fate and PTSD in his short story “The Red Convertible”. Chapters from Zitkala-Sa’s book such as “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” and “The School Days of an Indian Girl” together with Louis Erdrich’s short story “The Red Convertible” represent and research growing difficulties for Native Americans living in the USA through applied by the authors means of plot, setting, characterization, symbolism, and other elements that relieve the process of beneath-the-surface-interpretation of all stories.

The relationships between two Indian brothers is a central theme of “The Red Convertible”, a short story form Louis Erdrich’s collection “Love Medicine”. The narrator and, therefore, a protagonist of the story is a younger of two brothers Lyman Lamartine who recalls in the memory the common past with Henry, the older one. They spent all time together and now when Henry is at war in Vietnam, Lyman addresses to him in many letters of tenderly content. After returning home, Henry seems to be reserved and withdrawn. A war-stifled soldier, he lives in the world of his own. Not even colorful television gives him any cure. On the contrary, it seems that bright colors of TV instill in him the feeling that the war is still present, what the black and white set would not do. Damaged by post-traumatic stress disorder, Henry would hardly reveal some interest in any activity. He would sit in front of Television gazing into it like a zombie. Many years ago they bought a car, a red convertible that seemed to be a real entertainment for both brothers but now Henry does not show any signs of interest in it. Car symbolizes once youthful and energetic relationships between brothers that are now destroyed beyond recognition. Lyman manages to trick Henry in the process of repairing the vehicle and when it seems that everything goes back to normal Henry re-experience his trauma again rushing into the river. Shocked Lyman pushes the car there too and puts an end to their long-term relationship once and for all. Among the heroes of the story is an eleven years sister of two brothers Bonita who fetched their photo on which Henry’s face is pale and obscured, and Lyman’s face is happy and bright. This photo foreshadows the future drama. Erdrich tried to show the grieving effects that war made on soldiers and their dearest people. War broke people intellectually and physically and this transformation is common for everyone, irrespective of race and nationality.

Zitkala-Sa’s “American Indian Stories” impress the readers with an amazingly true-to-life depiction of an Indian girl’s life in a society of palefaces and her hardships during childhood. The title “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” is meaningful. The narrations begins with the description of a little Zitkala at her domestic wigwam with her mother who was convinced that white people could only make harm to their restful life and she was right. They live near river whose waters would be free in mother’s opinion only if the palefaces would not “take them away”. She also says many other things about villainess of white people and they tend to be proved in the future of Zitkala-sa. The girl remembers her childhood to be amazing, her mother brought her up according to the basic Indian values and virtues that is to be tolerant, patient, respectful of others, and hospitable. However, Zitkala should have been ready for the life in the society of whites (Zitkala’s father was white), and for this reason her mother sends her to paleface school where her further life begins. Her mother considers whites to be liars, the intruders who depraved Native Americans of their lands but Zitkala is amazed by the palefaces and the lives they led, she wanted to become a part of their culture at first. Only with the course of time the girl managed to know how coldhearted white people may be. The apples in the chapter “The Big Red Apples” are a symbol of temptation. Therefore, Indian children are tempted into the sinning for becoming the part of a forbidden culture of palefaces. It is very good that whites can give education for Native Americans but the functioning in the new society causes Indians to forget their own folk traditions and lose their unique character.

The narrator in the story is the first person - Zitkala. The readers can witness all the palefaces’ traditions through this Indian girl’s eyes as strange and malignant. At the boarding school Zitkala feels herself an outsider, as she expected white people would treat her better than they actually did. The girl was exhausted by all the bizarre gazes of whites. Audience tends to be sympathetic to her ordeal as the first person narration is convincing. Zitkala is displaced after the initial period at school as she does not feel herself neither Indian nor white. The girl collects herself and goes back to East where she will prove the palefaces that she should be respected.

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