Multicultural Literature Essay
During this semester in Prose class, I have learned many kind of short stories by writers of various background. I also learn how to analyze the text critically, especially about structuralism and culture studies. There are 8 short stories that I have discussed with the class and written in one-page journal response. First, A Short Happy Life of Conat by Mochtar Lubis , Rising Flood by Riem Eng, First Confession by Frank O’Connor, Wings by Catriona McKenzie, Ta-Na-E-Ka by Mary Whitebird, Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway, Bali by Putu Setia, and Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock by Sherman Alexie.
Moreover I learned about what Prose is and Intrinsic element of literature, such plot, character, theme, point of view,setting, etc. Then I learn about structuralism in literature, such as binary opposition, the sequence of the event, unequal treatment of time, etc. On the other opportunities I also learn about symbolism, narration, multicultural literature and Indonesian multiculturalism.
Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangled” at Woodstock is a story that does not only focus on Indian people who are marginalized but it contains how the modern Indians life is. In this story, we could find some of multiculturalism. First, from the narrator,Victor’s point of view, he shows the mix culture between traditional Native−American values from his mother and the dependence to American influences from his father. There also some multiculturalisms about the difference treatment towards Indian fathers who leave their children compare to white fathers and how Indians family live such as the difference of Victor’s friend experience about how their parents making love and Victor’s parents who are Indians .
In the beginning of the story, the mixture of the culture is shown by Victor’s father. “During the sixties, my father was the perfect hippie, since all the hippies were trying to be Indians.” There is an irony here that Victor’s father does not like the perfect hippie. He wear bell-bottom, flowered shirt and holds a riffle above his head that represented American, not the hippies. He use red peace symbols splashed across his face and there is a sign “MAKE LOVE NOT WAR” in his demonstration but he seems does not stand for peace. “The caption under the photograph read DEMONSTRATION GOES TO WAR FOR PEACE.
The editor capitalized on my father’s Native America identity with other headline like ONE WARRIOR AGAINST WAR and PEACEFUL GATHERING TURN INTO NATIVE UPRISING”.
Then his obsession with pop music America icon, Jimi hendrix, damage his family relationship and affects the values of his Indian culture. “Only the good die young,” to his mother replied, “No, only the crazy people choke to death on their own vomit.” So Victor’s father asked “Why you talking about my hero that way?” In this case, Victor saw their parents argue just because of different perception of the death of Jimi Hendrix. So indirectly Victor’s father obsession on Jimi Hendrix make him having arguments with his wife. In addition, on page 32 “A hundred years ago, an Indian marriage was broken easily.
The woman or man just packed up all their possessions and left the tipi. There were no arguments, no discussion. Now, Indians fight their way to the end, holding onto the last good thing, because our whole lives have to do with survival.” It also indicates that by “fighting” stage, an Indian family problem now becomes clear since both wife and husband spill out their feeling and thought that might become the solution of the problem. On the other hand, Victor’s mother still involved with Native−American traditions, such as her dancing. As soon as her husband does not need her when he was sick in a hospital, “she went back to the life she had created. She traveled to powwows, started to dance again.”. In this case I could see that Victor’s mother as a woman have to make hard decision. Even though she still loves him, she can not follow the lifestyle of the man. Culture will always influence the characteristic of the society.
Victor’s father’s dependence on music, alcohol, and other American influence separates him from his wife and son. In addition, when his marriage get worse, Victor’s father does not follow tradition that inspires the Indians about survival or the importance of family . It bring the multicultural further that is about the difference treatment towards Indian fathers who leave their children compare to white fathers. “On a reservation, Indian men who abandon their children are treated worse than white fathers who do the same thing. It’s because white men have been doing that forever and Indian men just leraned how.” In this matter, we could see that white people who indicate as more individual people, give influence Native-American to leave the children.
There is also multiculturalism about how Indians family live such as the difference of Victor’s white friend experience about how their parents making love and Victor’s parents who are Indians. “Some night I lay awake and listened to my parents’ lovemaking. I know white people keep it quite, pretend they don’t ever make love. My white friends tll me thay can’t even imagine their own parents getting it on.” I think in this occasion, it would be positif knowledge for Indian’s children that their parents still love each other although sometimes they have fight. For the conclusion, we could see that multiculturalism can be the mixture culture between one culture to another. It could give positif affect or even negatif affect.
Especially when we look at Victor’s father, the influence of acceptance of white American pop culture with Jimi Hendrix ironically contributes to his family breakup. However, for Victor, an Indian boy these sound of American pop culture (not always Jimi Hendrix but also Roberst Johnson) offer the hope that maybe someday his father will return home. These sounds are an inspiration for this Indian boy to go on. “Until the sun rose so bright that I knew it was time to go back inside to my mother ”. So he knew when the sun comes up and shines brightly.