My Grub Box

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When Vivian Johnson decided to pursue a college education, it was not because her parents didn’t attend college, it was because she wanted to be in a position of control. She knew that college was her ticket to getting the qualifications needed for the career she envisioned. In “My Grub Box,” Vivian Johnson recalls her college experience moving from Emmonak, Alaska to the East Coast Ivy League School Dartmouth. Taken completely out of her native environment of the Yup’ik Eskimos, she details a certain adaptation to gain understanding of her perspective. Vivian Johnson’s “grub box” created a signpost for her way of life through the realization that culture is inseparable from being native.

The main aspect that set Vivian Johnson apart from other students at Dartmouth is her experiences as a member of a native Eskimo family. Johnson begins her memoir with a description of the function of a grub box and what it has meant for members of her family. On hunting and camping trips she would use her grub box to pack food and supplies to survive, but her grub box that helped her through college contained much more than physical items. She used intangible things that were passed on from her parents, like a sense of identity and how to survive in different surroundings. (Johnson, 201) Another reason that Johnson didn’t fit into the “normal” student population at Dartmouth, was the fact that she didn’t come from a socially advantaged family compared to many of the other students. She could not relate to many of the other students experiences simply because her family didn’t take exotic trips or have fancy clothing, jewels, and cars. Not only was Johnson different from other students because of her possessions and experiences, but she also had a different perspective and was used to a different way of thinking. She found it difficult to understand her government professor because she had not been exposed to that way of thinking before. Also, she at first had trouble...
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