Author Archives: tselmuun319

Tselmuun’s Bridge to the Blog

Today in class, we analyzed “Southern Gothic” and “Incident” from the Native Guards, and since these two poems are very rich in meaning I thought I would share some of my interpretations.

In Southern Gothic, Trethewey lays down on the bed that her parents used to share and revisits her childhood in a dream.

“framing the separate lives they’ll wake to. Dreaming,

I am again the child with too many questions – “

Once again she is the child with many questions, however, she is yet to realize that the answers are far more complicated as she contemplates the past in her dream. Trethewey also seems to demonstrate her disappointment at a subject which she didn’t understand upon the time it happened.

“my mother cannot answer, her mouth closed, a gesture

toward her future: cold lips stitched shut.”

In the lines above, her mother is unable to answer her questions because she’s just an image in a dream. On the other hand, the author also seems to imply that her mother’s lips are “stitched shut” because of the consequence already happened and nothing could change the past.

Whereas in Incident, Trethewey narrates about the Ku Klux Klan visiting their house. The repetition of words “no one came”, “nothing really happened” seems to reinforce the message that it the history was retold so many times that it lost its’ impact.

We tell the story every year –

how we peered from the windows, shades drawn –

though nothing really happened,

the charred grass now green again.”

The line that says “the charred grass now green again” could also to refer that the disturbing consequences of history is just an incident because everything is fixed like the charred grass is green again.

Finally, I also want to stress the line “we tell the story every year” which is an opening and ending of the poem. Trethewey could be referring to “we” as the black community and how they tell the story every year in a hope that people would acknowledge the ugly truth of the past. However, the white-supremacists/public are indifferent to the story because the KKK is seen as angels not murderers or criminals.

It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns.”

 

 

These are just my rambling thoughts, what were your opinions?

 

Tselmuun’s Postcolonial analysis of Pocahontas

Today in class we discussed about the Postcolonial criticism: a theory that analyzes psychological, ideological, social, political and intellectual aspects of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. The principal powers of the colonialism era are Great Britain and other European countries such as France, Germany and Germany which colonized the countries in Africa, Asia and South America. The motives of colonialism were to boost the economic and political power of the colonizing country which, unfortunately comes at the cost of damaging those of the indigenous peoples. Furthermore, the colonizers declare their own culture as the standard and the norm, therefore all the other cultures are seen as inferior. Such phenomenon has resulted in the alienation of the indigenous people even in their own homes, which Bhabha puts it as “unhomeliness”.

On the other hand, even as the term “Postcolonial” suggests itself that we’re past the colonialism era, the colonialist philosophy still remains, at least in the media. Just like any other kid, I grew up watching Disney movies and embracing the beauties of the princesses. Never did I notice that those cartoons are not an accurate representations of the history as I have watched them around 10 years ago, but I have realized that the romantic love stories or the happy endings overshadow the oppression of the princesses, of which “Pocahontas” is a prime example. She falls in love with John Smith, a man negatively impacting her land and her tribe which later results in the death of Kacaum, a man of her tribe.

In the arrival of the English men, they are referring to Pocahontas’ land as a New World, a land they can tame and a source for their prosperity. This is a possible example of neoclassicism: which exploits the natural resources of a land at the expense of its ecological wellbeing for financial benefit. The Governor sees this mission as a chance to prove himself, to the men and women in Britain merely a tool to accomplish his social status. They then refer to the indigenous people as “savages”, “filthy heathens” and “injuns”. In fact, some of the lyrics say “we’ll kill ourselves an injun”. The fact that this cartoon presents the Native Americans as savages, gives away the message that it is okay to kill people for their land and their wealth.

Another degrading approach to the culture of Native Americans, was when Pocahontas meets John Smith for the first time and he says that he’ll teach them how to use the land properly and how to make the most of it. Moreover, John mentions that savage is just a word, a term for people who are uncivilized. Here, John Smith is persuading Pocahontas to the ideology that civilization is the proper way to live. Another difference between the two cultures, could be seen from the Governor’s pet dog and Pocahontas’ raccoon Meeko. The pet dog is almost human-like, eats fancy foods and doesn’t behave like other animals would, whereas Meeko is smart and normal.

Although its beginning is significantly oppressive of the indigenous culture, the lyrics of “Colors of The Wind” plays a vital role in the positive message of “Pocahontas”. In that song, Pocahontas is questioning the belief of the British that different means inferior, as she says everybody is equal no matter what their backgrounds are. Moreover, John Smith and Pocahontas eventually both realize that there is no need for violence and love can overcome hatred; whereas the Governor loses patience and addresses the Native Americans as “barely even human” and “this is what happens when the races are diverse”. The British men then understands that Native Americans are not “savages” and they too can understand the language of love and understanding. In conclusion, although major parts of it disappointed me now that I’ve watched it as a grown up; I guess “Pocahontas” has a decent message in the end.

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