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I Heard The Owl Call My Name

1028 words - 4 pages

As time goes by, gaps between the generations of the world are continually being made. The gap becomes more obvious everyday. In today's world, it's a challenging task to find a child that shares the same interests as their parents. Their taste in music, fashion choices, religious beliefs, or views on political issues are usually quite different. The same goes for the tribal elders and the young in Margaret Craven's novel, I Heard The Owl Call My Name. Although the tribe didn't have the same situations as people today, the concept of their generation differences show a parallel to ours. As time went by in the book, the differences between the elders and the young of the tribe increased in many ways. The increasing differences between the elders and the young in the novel are demonstrated in many ways. One of the ways being the young of the tribe using English as their primary language. The old language of the tribe, Kwakwala, is only spoken by the elders of the tribe. The young tribe members go to the church residential school in Alert Bay, and each time they come back they have been more influenced by the white world and the English language. Mark talks to Peter, an elder, about the unease of the village when the young returned. "They speak English all the time, and forget the words of Kwakwala" (61-62). With the many members of the tribe not understanding the Kwakwala language, at traditional events translations are now needed. An example would be the Grouse Dance at the potlatch the old man held for himself. "When the elder introduced it, Jim translated his words:" (69). The English language also had another major effect on the village, dealing with the people. The first indian Mark Brian meets is named Jim Wallace, and later he meets other white named indians such as Marta Stephens, Chief Eddy, and Mrs. Hudson. All of the members of the tribe have white, English names except for Keetah. She is the only indian in the village with an indian name. There is a huge generation gap between the tribe now and the early Kwakiutl tribe. Not only have the Kwakiutls lives been changed, but they have also begun to rely on the white world's ways. Things as natural to them as death must now be reported before they can deal with it in the traditional ways of their tribe. Indians never had to report to the white men when someone died and now they do. When the weesa-bedo dies in the beginning of the story, he is not able to be buried for over a week because the R.C.M.P. officer took 10 days to come to the village. Mark goes with Jim on a few occasions up the river to get supplies from Alert Bay. In the earlier days, there was no going to town for supplies and staples, nature was the...

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