Powwow At The End Of The World Analysis

2124 Words 9 Pages
Various clashing ideas of how racial identity should be portrayed in literature exist in the world today. Many of these views came about in America following the conclusion of the Civil War, when African American slaves were liberated and finally became able to freely express themselves in the midst of a white society. One view commonly promoted by that white society is that of leaving behind one’s original culture for America’s (majorly white) culture. President Theodore Roosevelt advocated for this assimilation in his book, where he insists, “From his own standpoint, it is beyond all question the wise the wise thing for the immigrant to become thoroughly Americanized. Moreover, from our standpoint, we have the right to demand it” (“American …show more content…
In it, he voices the expectations of society for him to assimilate, forgetting his heritage by forgiving the mistreatment of his Native American ancestors. Alexie declares, “I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall after that salmon leaps into the night air above the water, throws a lightning bolt at the brush near my feet, and starts the fire which will lead all of the lost Indians home” (“The Powwow at the End of the World”). The pain endured by the “lost Indians” is similar to that of the African Americans wearing the mask- both cultures are expected to put on a happy façade and assimilate despite the anguish of their culture. Again, Alexie announces, “I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall when I am dancing with my tribe during the powwow at the end of the world” (“The Powwow at the End of the World”). The “powwow” here represents a celebration of cultural heritage, where Alexie is making a compromise- as soon as he gets to express his cultural pride, he will assimilate with the expected forgiveness as well, just as Dunbar’s mask-wearers live with the delicate compromise that balances assimilation with cultural

Related Documents