The Teacher

Topics: Short story, Violin, Violins Pages: 5 (1867 words) Published: May 31, 2012
(here for printing correctly)

This paper overviews and compares the personality and characteristic differences between two men. Shamengwa and Corwin are the two men who are compared in this paper from the short story “Shamengwa.” They are compared for their differences, which they have a lot of things uncommon with each other. It also relates these two together by showing how they are both intrigued by the music in which the violin produces. They both play with their heart and play to the point where they make others cry. The paper also overviews how Shamengwa teaches Corwin how to play the violin for his punishment of stealing Shamengwa’s violin in the first place.

The Teacher
One usually has a possession of his or hers which he cherishes as more than just a petty item he possess. In Shamengwa’s eyes, his valued possession was his fiddle that appeared to him in such a way that made it even more valuable. One day he had come across a fiddle that was his father’s. His father was not allowed to play the fiddle anymore because of Shamengwa’s mother. They were going through rough times due to the loss of a brother in the family. After seven years of Shamengwa sneaking the violin and teaching himself to play it, he was finally caught. His parents came home and he was unaware of their presence until it was too late. His father had him keep playing once he heard it and for some reason this triggered something in him that caused him to leave. Unfortunately for Shamengwa, his fiddle was stolen from him by a man named Corwin Peace who was known for his juvenile history and his drug habits. This story begins with Shamengwa’s life story and then reveals the different personalities and/or characteristics of Shamengwa; and how they both come together when Corwin is caught for thieving the violin. After his father left his family and took the first fiddle Shamengwa had his hands on, he was lost without the satisfaction of the music he played with the fiddle. He missed the sound it brought to his ears. He was becoming somewhat depressed without his fiddle, until one night a voice came to him in a dream. The dream was simple. A voice. Go to the lake and sit by the southern rock. Wait there. I will come to you (Erdrich 2003, p. 180). He did not ignore this message instructed him. He decided to take action and wait by this lake until someone or something came to him. He waited a couple nights before this encounter. His waiting paid off when he saw a canoe drifting up to shore where he was waiting. Erdrich (2003) describes Shamenqwa’s encounter with the canoe approaching the shore: “Perhaps high waves had coaxed it off a beach where its owner had dragged it up, thinking it was safe. I pushed the canoe in to shore, then pulled it up behind me, wedged it in a cleft between two rocks. Only then did I look inside. There, lashed to a crosspiece in the bow, was a black case of womanly shape that fastened on the side with two brass locks.” (p. 181) The value of this violin that he came across was special to him because he came across it in such a way that no one else would. He did not need to purchase the violin, because it was as if it had chosen him. He used this fiddle to play beautiful music for people who came to listen to him. This was his way to not only please his own ear, but to please the ears of others with music like no other music ever heard. His music touched the heart of many and even brought deep emotions that were hidden for years. Shamengwa was known for his elegance as well.

Shamengwa was a man of elegant style and his love for his music exceeded the expectation of any man in his time. The men of Shamengwa’s time were expected to have a look that was perfected and maintained by the men of his village. Shamengwa maintained himself and kept himself clean cut as he should, however, he had a disfiguration in his left arm that set himself out from everyone else since he could...
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