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Green Grass, Running Water - Essay Example

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Order#: 539228 Topic: Green Grass, Running Water Outline This paper discusses issues related to black and white races. The efforts of the Northern Aboriginal people (The Native Indians) to maintain their heritage against the onslaught of the white traditions…
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Download file to see previous pages What is that “authentic” Indian behavior? Does progress and modernity of the Native Americans mean that they need to say farewell to their original cultural traits? “Green, Grass, Running Water,” by Thomas King depicts what true Native American spirit is about. What is the nature of struggles of Northern Aboriginal people trying to keep in touch with their culture and/or move towards a more modern western culture—what are its limitations and how far influences of whites in some areas are inevitable? Lionel and his aunt Norma are engaged in an anxious and spirited conversation that has an undercurrent of racial tension. Norma represents the typical Native American in her thinking and she has great apprehensions about the change that she identifies in Lionel as for the white culture. Does she basically hate the white leanings of Lionel? The answer is both yes and no! Rather than hating the whites, she is deeply interested that Lionel should retain the Native identity. They are in a car, and the casual comment by Lionel regarding Indian Council paving a dirt road, is seriously taken up for a racial debate buy Norma. Thomas King writes, (1994, p.7-8) “Lionel, if you weren’t my sister’s boy, and if I didn’t see you born with my own eyes, I would sometimes think you were white. You sound just like those politicians in Edmonton. Always telling us what we can’t do.” This indicates Norma’s deep-rooted dislike for white dispositions towards which she believes Lionel is moving. Her comparison of Lionel with politicians in Edmonton, gives the clear picture about how the whites perceive the Native American and have poor estimate of their abilities. Thus an unbridgeable gap is established between the Native Indians and White Americans. She sincerely wishes that Lionel remain associated with their heritage and she is apprehensive about his moving towards the other side of the cultural fence that divides the whites and blacks. The argument between the nephew and the aunt thickens and reaches wider horizons as Norma picks up more issues concerning Lionel. She recalls, when Lionel was a boy, his tonsils were operated upon by a white doctor. She remarks, “Indian doctors weren’t good enough.”(p.32)This has an element of sarcasm, as well as worry for her about Lionel imitating the white traits, as his life was shaped and influenced by white culture. Her latent resentment towards all that is white is also evident. She doesn’t wish to “lose” Lionel under any circumstances, and desires to remind him that they should be proud that they belong to the heritage of Northern Aboriginal people of America. Her resentment towards the white race is evident when she sarcastically says addressing her nephew, “"As if they [white men] were something special. As if, there weren't enough of them in the world already" (37) This is almost like a policy statement of Norma as for her attitude towards the white race. It is evident that her concern has assumed serious proportions and she emphatically tells Lionel the desirability to retain his Native American heritage, and not try to imitate the white. Norma dominates in the conversation, speaks without intermission, and hardly gives any chance to Lionel to explain his viewpoints. In defense of her position, Norma gives one more argument from which she desires that Lionel take lessons. She gives the examples of his sister Latisha, who has stuck to the native roots, in establishing and running a good Indian restaurant ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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