John's earliest memories involve his mother's relationships with Indian men — especially Popé, who also introduces Linda to the powerful hallucinogenic drug mescal (which she finds similar to soma). John also remembers how the Indian women beat Linda, because she felt no sexual restraints with their men.As John grows, Linda teaches him to read. Popé finds an old volume of Shakespeare, and the young boy studies it. In fact, John's reading in Shakespeare inspires him to try to kill Popé, who is in bed with Linda. As an adolescent, John is not allowed to undergo the initiation ritual into adult Indian society like the other boys. Instead, John goes out alone into the wilderness where he contrives his own physical trials to enter adulthood. His self-torture gives him a vision of "Time and Death and God."
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