The Gallup Ceremonial

The Gallup Ceremonial in Ceremony wasn’t an actual Native American ceremony. It was an event arranged by the city for entertainment. It was meant to celebrate Native American culture but ended up backfiring and doing the opposite. The dancers weren’t even from the same Native American tribe. To me, this represents how western culture is interested in Native American culture, but when it comes to actually respecting the people they have failed.

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Auntie

I never understood how even though Auntie disliked Tayo greatly because he was half white, she encouraged her own son Rocky to embrace western culture and the whole family was proud when he gets a scholarship and becomes the first one in the family to attend college. Even after Tayo embraced Laguna culture when Rocky didn’t, he was still the black sheep of the family.

Huck and Jim

At first, Huck treated Jim badly and played pranks on him, but then when he got to know him more, he started to feel bad and they eventually became friends. Huck even goes so far as to make and execute an elaborate plan to free him from slavery with Tom. As a kid, Huck has an open mind and he eventually makes the decision to see Jim as not only a person but his friend, rather than simply property, something that adults couldn’t seem to be able to do back then.

Sethe killing Beloved

While there are some who try to justify Sethe’s murder of Beloved, it just doesn’t make sense. Murder is not justifiable. Needless to say, she had no right to kill her daughter. It was a selfish action where she sunk down to the evil of slavery. It seems like her killing of Beloved is Sethe giving up and admitting defeat. That’s why it was good to see her attack her oppressor instead at the end, but at the same time, it was too little, too late.

Memory and the Past in Absalom

William Faulkner chose to write Absalom Absalom the way that he did to emphasize the fact that people’s individual memories can influence how we see what happened in the past and although there might be a true, objective past, it will be harder to find than a subjective rendition of it. There are too many different things that can cause a person to tell a different version of what really happened whether they’re doing it intentionally or not.

What would Thoreau say about technology today?

There’s a lot of new technology we have today that didn’t exist back when Thoreau wrote Walden. While the Internet may be a great invention and some say that it brings us closer together by connecting people from around the world, it also serves as a distraction. It’s a sad truth that a lot of the time there’ll be people at social events all with their phones out. If we aren’t careful, this distraction can cause us to be more isolated than Thoreau in Walden.

Nature

Throughout the entire semester, the main theme has always been nature. Everyone had different relationships with nature, but in every story, nature played an important role. Those statistics we talked about the other day in class about the drop off in living species and the fact that six percent of animals are actually wild really struck me. It made me think. How important is nature to us? Are we really doing everything we can to keep nature preserved and intact? Is this decline in nature inevitable or can we do something to prevent it?

Each of the stories has a different meaning for nature. In Walden, Thoreau loved nature and viewed wild nature as sacred. Thoreau isolated himself in nature. He sought experience in nature in order to learn about himself.

In Huck Finn, Huck and Jim use nature as a means of escape. Huck uses nature to escape from his abusive father whereas Jim uses nature to escape from the institution of slavery. Huck also goes to nature and the Mississippi river to get away from civilization. To Huck and Jim,  the Mississippi river represents freedom. Towards the end of the book, Huck explains that he is planning on heading back to nature because he wants to get away from “sivilized” society when he says, “I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”