Neihardt frames Black Elk Speaks with his Preface and Author's Postscript, which, though modest, remind readers of an editing presence. In these two pieces, Neihardt describes the circumstances of his conversation with Black Elk. Chapters 1 and 2 are preliminary to the description of the great vision in Chapter 3; they convey Black Elk's confidence in Neihardt and record the first few years of Black Elk's childhood, including the first time he heard voices at age five. Chapter 3, the longest and most complicated chapter of the book, describes the vision that Black Elk was granted when he was nine years old. Highly iconographic and symbolic, Black Elk's early vision depicts his journey to a cloud world in the sky where six grandfathers give him sacred objects and empower him to maintain his people's sacred hoop. From this vision, Black Elk gains a sense of himself as different from
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