Drew Hayden Taylor's Essays

1466 words - 6 pages

In Drew Hayden Taylor’s essays, he creates and manipulates various tones that each appeal to a different reader, which allows for his writings to be accepted and related to by various people. Through his use of shifting tones in “What’s an Indian worth These Days” and “Why did the Indian Block the Road”, from humorous to informative to sarcasm, Drew Hayden Taylor challenges stereotypes about First Nations people.

Taylor use the humorous tone to show how ridiculous stereotypes are about First Nations people. Taylor uses First Nations humour to do this, “What’s an Indian worth These Days” and “Why did the Indian Block the Road” both use jokes that poke holes at the dominant culture. Taylor writes in “Why did the Indian Block the Road”, “you have to admit it was an interesting battle technique, waging war on sluggishness with sluggishness. The 401 became more barren than the Maple Leaf Gardens during the Stanley Cup finals”. Taylor uses metaphor effectively, as he compares the busiest highway in Canada to the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not made the Stanley Cup finals since 1967 (List of NHL). By using the adverb of “more”, Taylor is also subtly showing the reader his views about the way the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) treats and handles situations involving First Nations people. The line before is the setup for the joke, but the repetition of “sluggishness” by Taylor outlines to the reader that the OPP has a recurring method of dealing with situations, jumping to conclusions before properly assessing different situations and most likely basing their reactions around stereotypes. Drew Hayden Taylor uses the humorous tone to make this point to the reader, however, the information is presented in a way that shows to the reader how ridiculous the situation is. Taylor makes the reader relate to his views on stereotypes of First Nations by using the humorous tone. Taylor writes about the public perception of native wealth in “What’s an Indian worth These Days”, in which “native people are sitting pretty. We’re pricing Tom Thomson paintings and drinking subtle, yet powerful chablis”. People have a misconception of First Nations wealth, and Taylor uses allusions to show how ridiculous these ideas are when examined, and not only looked at through stereotypes. The two allusions create the humour. The first is to Tom Thomson, a Canadian artist who was active during the twentieth century, and his paintings sell for around two million dollars (CTV) as well as chablis is an exquisite French wine, which prices around sixty-nine dollars a bottle (Wine). Both are quite expensive, and Taylor writes about these two items to show how ridiculous having these items would be. The adjectives that are used to describe the wine add to the description and joke, but are also a metaphor to the effects that the media has on the general public. The media is “subtle, yet powerful” in the way that it influences people. Taylor uses this metaphor to compare these...

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