“A Little Literature: Reading, Writing, Argument” is a book that spans across multiple genres of literature and allows the reader to get a taste of classical and contemporary issues regarding the different values of society and how they evolve amongst secondary cultures (Barnet). The man to send rain clouds, by Leslie Marmon Silko “The man to send rain clouds” was originally published in the late 1960’s. The story revolves around the culture of the native Indians and the significance of culture in every day domestic life.
The story presents to the reader how external influences impinge on these domestic values and customs, and how these external influences continue to do so as time passes by. Using the characters of the Catholics and the Pueblos, Leslie Marmon Silko has narrated how an evolving culture is considered to be a fading culture and how the people of that culture attempt to keep it alive in its original form through their actions and preferences. This is a story about an old man and his grandsons and their wives.
It begins with the death of the old man, the story implies, that the old man and his grandsons were shepherds and farmers. The old man being left to tend to the sheep dies peacefully under the shade of the tree. The grandsons when discover that he has died, they adorn his face with paint symbols similar to that of the native Indian rain makers. Then this group heads on home. However in the entire story, there is a lack of emotion and expression on the grandson’s part. The only emotion that can be ascertained is that of interest and anticipation on the grandson Leon.
Leon seems to see the old man’s death as a means to send them rain, which also brings to mind the fact that perhaps the town was suffering the drought season. Anyhow the old man is buried without any religious preliminaries mandatory for a Christian burial, with the exception of the sprinkling of Holy Water on the old man’s body, which Leon insists on, giving the excuse that by doing this the old man will never feel thirst. However even though the Priest insists on full religious ceremony, the grandsons take no heed and proceed without.
However when the old man is buried Holy water is sprinkled on his body and grave. At this point Leon exclaims that his grandfather will be able to send rain. From the above story, comes forth an in depth view of common town life that hold secret beliefs of the Native Indians and their power of Indian magic. In this case it seems that the grandsons are in a way almost excited by the fact, that their grandfather will be able to initiate rain for the town. Or rather they presented their dead grandfather as a sacrifice to the rain maker.
It is for this reason that they paint his face with symbols and lines and bury the Christian parishioner without any rightful Christian rights. “Only approved Indians can play: Made in USA”, by Jack Forbes This historic piece of penmanship was published in 1979 and like all the other works of literature in the book “A Little Literature: Reading, Writing, Argument”, this too takes the reader In “Only approved Indians can play: Made in USA”, Jack Forbes writes about American Indians and how the modern day American society chooses to interact with them.
Forbes has used characters of Indian descent to show how Indian Americans learn to visualize the change they long for even when it cannot be attained. Unique and struggling, the characters introduce the reader to the wide array of Indian American lifestyles. “The two”, by Gloria Naylor In Gloria Naylor’s, “The Two”, we see a metaphorical approach towards the sensitivities in the relationships of life. For instance, the yellow mist is observed to be a metaphor that presents to the reader the countless complicated and interrelated intricacies that swarm the lesbian couple.
The Oriental Contingent, by Diana Chang Many books, articles and stories have been written about the influences of a culture upon a society or that of a society on a culture however few have been written about people of the same culture learning to live in a foreign country. One such is “The Original Contingent” by Diana Chang. The “Original Contingent” was published in 1989. In the “Oriental Contingent”, Diana Chang brings to light the ways in which the Asian populace measures up and compares each other.
“The Original Contingent” achieves its purpose by taking us through a journey of two young women as they both consider each other to be of a better native heritage than the other. By portraying the two women pushed apart by the extent to which they have absorbed the cultural concept of being Chinese and having a Chinese heritage, the Original Contingent explores how the Chinese American culture evolves horizontally within the community and is passed down vertically. “Who’s Irish”, by Gish Jen
“Who’s Irish” was first published in June 2000 by Vintage Publishers. Writer Gish Jen has been acclaimed by many critics to be an Asian American Writer with an east coast sense of culture and heritage. It is common knowledge that the process of migrating to America and often causes collisions in cultural respects and lead to much confusion. “Who’s Irish” by Gish Jen centers around the slow and painful process that people more than often have to go through after migrating to another land.
Highly fascinating is the way Gish Jen has used a rare blend of Chinese and Irish cultures to demonstrate her point of view. “Who’s Irish” explores some of the most important avenues of the significance given to culture in the modern day society and how the process of transformation and adaption of culture influences the people directly as well as indirectly. “The lesson”, by Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” speaks about more than racial and economic inequalities but highlights a related subject that has been rarely given its due importance. Toni Cade Bambara speaks of beyond the injustice of life where man learns the importance of being willing to learn new things. Toni Cade Bambara uses his lead character in “The lesson” to portray the tendency people have to resist letting the process of learning shape their minds, yet choose to let the process take effect in their subconscious.
At times, as Bambara shows us, the process takes place at an even higher level when we tend to accept the knowledge we are given but we choose not to show that we have accepted our error. By showing a stubborn little young girls journey through the process of learning and realization, Bambara speaks of how we learn new things as we live and how we choose to defend our pride as we learn that our perceptions of the reality we live in may be wrong.
Barnet, Sylvan. A Little Literature: Reading, Writing, Argument. Longman, 2006.
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