The Theme Of Ancestry In Alexie's Poem "What The Orphan Inherits" And Rose's Poem "Genealogical Research"

1146 words - 5 pages

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people” (Hanh). The defining of a person begins first from their ancestry. The importance of family is vital in every person’s life and the reason for this is because families are the group structure the mostly in every cases tries to be and do the best for each other. Sherman Alexie and Wendy Rose are both poets that have expressed the characteristics of their ancestry and culture in their inspirational and touching poems. Many of them are involved with the critics of personal experiences they have had, and their ideas are portrayed in a meaningful and well structured way. They also describe the way the society views them for being Indians or Indian descendant. To reach a poignant and deep point in the poems, the poets use several literary techniques and imagery in a way that the reader can visualize every description made in the works. Sherman Alexie’s poems and Wendy Rose’s poems such as “What the Orphan Inherits” and “Genealogical Research” describe the aspects that define an Indian. Sherman Alexie’s thematic is usually about the how the Indian society works, whereas Wendy Rose focuses more in personal experiences and her descendants. These two poems have diverse differences and similarities in their treatment of ideas about family.
Both of the poems refer to the vast characteristics of Indians. They demonstrate the facets that make up the Indian culture. Regardless of the different styles of each author, they can both be seen similar because they come from the same ethnic group. The poems tone and mood are very similar since they are both evaluative and personal, but Sherman Alexie’s poem is also ironic and sharp. “One hand shades her eyes in case the sun should see the glistening teat that trembles and slides; from the other hand hangs the pouch filled with names” (Rose C). In this part of the poem it is very obvious that Wendy Rose describes how her memories of her ancestors cause her pain because she feels emptiness since they are not with her anymore; this supports the idea that the poem is evaluative and personal. “For bringing us the horse we could almost forgive you for bringing us whisky” (Alexie A). This part of the poem is noticeably a metaphor in which the author describes their conception of useful and useless: they're mostly inclined towards the wrong stuff, but a good offering will almost overlap the vices, even though they always come first, just as is usual with some Native American people. It shows that it is personal and evaluative because they're criticizing their habits and moral values. Evidently, the importance of ancestors and Indian characteristics such as tradition, family, language, alcohol (this characteristic is mostly shown only in Alexie’s poem), etc., are shown in both of the poems.

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