Native Americans In Dear John Wayne, By Louise Erdrich

765 Words 4 Pages
In “Dear John Wayne” by Louise Erdrich, it becomes obvious to the reader that Erdrich feels as if Native Americans, such as herself, are inferior to the entire white population. Throughout her poem, Erdrich expresses her opinions and the actions of white people like “John Wayne.” The message she sends to the reader brings attention to the display of Native Americans. Erdrich strives to express her opinion that the media displays Native Americans in an insignificant fashion and that the media believes their worth is inconspicuous. First of all, Erdrich’s use of John Wayne indicates additional information than just the importance of his movies and the drive-in. John Wayne is a character in numerous Western movies from the past, which nearly …show more content…
When the movie ends Erdrich writes, “We get into the car / scratching our mosquito bites, speechless and small” (32-33), to present her opinion. As previously mentioned, the mosquitos are symbolic for the actions of the white Americans attacking the Native Americans. The mosquito bites they now have, generate their feelings of being “speechless and small.” Without a doubt, Erdrich’s use of mosquito bites was more than intended. By the use of prior knowledge, the majority of people are familiar with mosquito bites having lengthy and bothersome effects. The white population provokes a negligible feeling elongated by its continuous phenomenon, thus shown by the mosquito bites. Similarly, the lines, “We are back in our skins. / How can we help but keep hearing his voice” (35-36), also exhibits Erdrich’s belief. As was previously stated, Native Americans experienced a feeling of insignificance from the movie. To say that they were “back in [their] skin” convinces the reader of how apprehensive and uncomfortable they had been feeling from viewing a movie that belittled Native Americans. As a result of the belittlement, Native Americans feel traumatized from their experience; they are constantly reminded of their unimportance through the media’s portrayal as they cannot keep from undergoing its’ persistent existence. Louise Erdrich wrote “Dear John Wayne” to express her feelings on the media and how it portrays Native Americans. Through her use of the drive-in movie, John Wayne, and the mosquitos, she is able to present the reader with how the Native Americans are unfairly treated. The use of figurative language devices also supports this. Erdrich claims that Native Americans inferiority to the white population is due to the media’s portrayal of their unworthiness and

Related Documents