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The Theme Of Ecology In “Black Elk Speaks” And “The Crucible”

953 words - 4 pages

Ecology is defined as the interconnections between human and nonhuman beings. Ecology addresses the full scale of life. The theme of ecology is commonly found in American literature. Such is the case of the memoir “Black Elk Speaks” written in 1932. “Black Elk Speaks” tells the story of a member of the Sioux tribe and a relative of Crazy Horse, named Black Elk. Black Elk was a witness to the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Throughout this memoir, Black Elk narrates the horrors he witnessed happening during what was not meant to be a battle. Black Elk portrays his spirituality by standing up to defend his people from the inhumane treatment the American soldiers have inflicted upon them. He puts on what he calls a “sacred shirt” (440). “It has a spotted eagle outstretched on the back of it, and the daybreak star was on the left shoulder. . .” (440). With his vivid and lively descriptions, the reader is able to picture Black Elk’s attire during the battle. The use of descriptive words allows the reader to also identify Black Elk as a very spiritual and very loyal tribe member. The theme of genocide is also presented in the memoir. According to Merriam-Webster, genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group ( The Native Americans were persecuted and attacked because of their beliefs. Although it is not directly stated, it is believed that the American soldiers were disarming the Native Americans because they feared of a riot taking place. Throughout history, many cases of genocide exist; however, some are worse than others. The tension caused by the Native Americans allowed the Americans soldiers to fear them and their beliefs.
When the memoir first begins, the readers learn about Black Elk, a member of the Sioux tribe, and relative of Crazy Horse. Black Elk narrates his experience during one the deadliest and bloodiest battles of history. Black Elk tells of the horrors he witnessed. Several examples of violence and cruelty towards his people are demonstrated in the lines of this memoir. Black Elk tells of seeing 2 little boys hiding in a gulch. He admires them for their bravery. Also, he notices a little baby trying to feed off of his deceased mother. During his walking, he gathers a few children and takes them back with him. When he arrives at a tepee, he allows the children to eat because they are all extremely hungry. Black Elk is not along throughout his journey. He is accompanied by Loves War and Iron Wasichu. Black Elk tells the story of what set off the deadly massacre. According to his sources, Yellow Bird was refusing to give up his gun to an officer, they struggled, and Yellow Bird shot and killed the...

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