Prayer is seen in most cultures as a way to connect to a higher being. The “Shawnee Native American Prayer” does not meet the traditional requirements of a prayer. It is not praising or asking for gifts, but giving commands only. Tecumseh shapes this prayer as a list of commands on how to live and die with honor.
Tecumseh uses commands about how to “perfect your life” within the first section to prepare the reader for an expansion on how to live these vague orders out. Beginning this prayer with these commands contribute to the overall theme by making guidelines of the life of an honorable man. Using commands is an unlikely approach to writing a prayer, but helps Tecumseh to direct the reader to create honor within their own lives. The echo of guidelines throughout the next two paragraphs snowballs toward the understanding that every aspect of the reader’s life should be filled with honor. As the prayer progresses the mention of death is more frequent displaying that it is becoming a reality rather than a far-off daydream. The second section also includes forbidden actions for someone who wants to “beautify all things in their life.” As the prayer concludes, Tecumseh announces the proper way to face death, which finishes the cycle of life. The chronological format of these commands helps the reader to realize the message that you must begin your life with honor and later die with honor, while accepting this inevitable ending which contributes to the overall piece’s meaning by highlighting that honor is a lifelong commitment.
The use of repetition throughout this prayer puts a spotlight on the most important concepts that Tecumseh covers- life and death. His echoing of commands about how to live your life, contributes to this theme by keeping the reader confident that their life belongs to them and God, alone. Although he repeats his views on living throughout the entire poem, towards the end he switches his repetition to...
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