zitkala-sa. close reading1

zitkala-sa. close reading1 - Zarrah Birdie Beth Piatote,...

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Zarrah Birdie Beth Piatote, Instructor Native American Studies C152 10/2/08 Close Reading : Zitkala-Sa The sheer ductility of the individually autonomous Indian spirit is tried and mirthlessly tested in the trajectory of Zitkala-Sa’s life as she narrates it. Beginning with her carefree childhood, to her years at boarding school and beyond. Thus, the structure of her writing pulsates with a raw energy which is progressively and painfully smothered and suffocated. And eventually, from which rises a being that is both unique and tragic in numerous ways. In Impressions of an Indian Childhood Zitkala-Sa describes herself as “a wild little girl of seven” (68) , “free as the wind… no less spirited than a bounding deer” (68). This embodies the centrality of the spirit in Indian culture, with indviduality as its cornerstone and is emphasized in numerous ways in her first few stories. For instance, there are vivid images of her wild freedom, “joyous relief in running loose in the open”, and chasing shadows with endless abandon. She also possessed a wild untamed beauty, an energy from within and yet that which was beyond her “as if I was the activity and my hands and feet were only experiments for my spirit to work upon” (69). A passion so wild and free, a passion that stems from such a deep sense of independence and autonomy that there is something almost terrifyingly tragic about it. This passion is further inextricably attached with Zitkala-Sa’s untainted and unconditional love and attachment towards her mother, a loyalty that is tested on many complex levels as she leaves for boarding school. Here again there is no dearth of vivid imagery, some which is apparent but most of which flows
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2009 for the course NAT 152 taught by Professor Piatote during the Spring '09 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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zitkala-sa. close reading1 - Zarrah Birdie Beth Piatote,...

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