Sunday, December 26, 2010

Zee End: American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings

I received American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) as a gift a few summers ago, so I put it on my to-read pile, where it was promptly buried by an avalanche. Lucky for me the A-Z Challenge forced me to retrieve it, as the author, Zitkala-Sa, finished off my challenge nicely.

Zitkala was a Lakata who went to a government Indian school in the late 19th century at the age of eight, and spent the rest of her life mediating between her tribe and white society. When back home she felt isolated and different, but white acceptance came only as she validated their beliefs. The first half of the book is her autobiographical sketches, and the purple prose made them hard to take seriously. They were written to be published in literary magazines, and the style changes of the past century are huge. But the last part are stories from legends and events, and in them I can suspend belief and just enjoy the vivid images and strong portrayals of character and place.  B-

No comments: