The Importance of Language in Pushing the Bear Essay

1185 Words Apr 25th, 2011 5 Pages
The usage of the Cherokee syllabary throughout Diane Glancy’s novel Pushing the Bear is significant because it expresses the importance of maintaining Cherokee cultural ideals as protest towards the United States government. The nine-hundred mile, four month journey that the Southeastern Cherokee tribes were forced to make in the winter of 1838 threatened to wipe out an entire culture. On the journey, approximately four thousand people lost their lives. As this harrowing story is portrayed in the novel, the importance of the language and maintaining the culture of the Cherokee people is the one of the few rays of hope in the harsh winter that gave courage to allow the Cherokees to keep going. The novel is written in medias res. The plot …show more content…
This placed a strong cultural importance on words. “I still have power because my words are strong.” (96) Lacey Woodard said talking about how the Cherokee men signed away the land the women owned. She and her people may have lost most of their possessions and their homes but she still maintained her power to speak. Lacey knew that even if she no longer owned her land she could stir emotions in others or describe her emotions with her words. The Cherokee people could loose everything but know they are still strong because they still had their language and identity. Language is important because it has culture built into it. Whenever something is translated, it loses some of it’s original meaning because translations are never exact. On page 194, Luthy tells a full story about a race between the box turtle and the deer in which the turtle cheats and beats the deer. The story is translated word for word into English. It is possible to gather what the story is about from the translation but the english words do not flow together grammatically. The reader must go back and look at the words to find the subject, verb, and object to construct the sentences that are used in English. Since the story does not turn into perfect sentences when translated into English, it shows that some meanings are lost when words are translated into other languages. This meaning has cultural significance, which is why the Cherokee

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