Thursday, March 15, 2007

Captured Young

Journal No. 19
English 48B
Dr. Scott Lankford
Author I Chose: Zitkala Ša

From "Impressions of an Indian Childhood"

I. "Trembling with fear and distrust of the palefaces, my teeth chattering from the chilly ride, I crept noiselessly in my soft moccasins along the narrow hall, keeping very close to the bare wall. I was as frightened and bewildered as the captured young of a wild creature."

II. Zitkala Ša is describing what it is like for the little girl to leave her tribe for the first time to attend school in the Eastern land.

III. The little girl has dreamed of adventuring off to see and experience new things firsthand. She has always wanted to ride on the iron horse and to see how it is that the other little girls her age live among the palefaces. Though she has heard many scary tales of how evil the palefaces can be, she has also heard about a wonderful group of missionaries that might provide for her the experiences that she has always wanted.

As soon as the little girl leaves her mother's (reluctant) side, she already begins to fear what she does not know. What if the elders were right and the palefaces were going to harm her? What if she never got to see her family again? Once the little girl embarks on the train ride, she remains no more consoled than previously. The palefaces on the train stare and ridicule the little girl and the other natve-American children the entire journey. After a long, cold, and sometimes frightening journey, the little girl finally arrives at her new home which resides in a large brick building. Coming from the small tribe that she had, the little girl has never seen such a monstrous structure before. Among strangers and foreign facilities, the little girl is left feeling more bewildered and anxious than she had ever prepared to be. This was supposed to be a wonderful adventure, full of experiences that she had only before dreamed of. What was to become of her with only her friend Judéwin to turn to? What had she gotten herself into? Hadn't she begged her mother for the chance to see the rest of the world?


Scott said...

20 points. I love the images you've attached to all your blogs, but the juxtaposition of these two is particularly stunning!