AP English Language/ P.1
20 August 2014
Using specific examples (cite page numbers or line numbers) from at least three of the selections we read, discuss similarities in the American Indian view of nature.
The first similarity in the American Indians’ views of nature is that the earth, and different features of the earth, are often personified. In both Song of the Sky Loom and Prayer to the Pacific, the earth is depicted as a personified family member of the narrator. The tribal song of the Tewa addresses the earth – “O our Mother the Earth, O our Father the Sky, your children are we… (16).” The song speaks to “Mother Earth” and “Father the Sky,” offering gifts and appealing to them for rain, a rainbow, the lights of morning and evening, and that they might walk where the birds sing and the grass is green. Silko also personifies the Ocean, saying, “speak to the Ocean: I return to you, turquois, the red coral you sent us… (line 13).” In addition, she addresses both the earth and the turtle in the story as members of a family – “sister spirit of Earth (line 14)” and “Grandfather Turtle (line 23).” In addition to the personification as family, some Native American works did so in other ways. In Coyote and the Earth Monster, the huge red canyon that Coyote walks into turns out to be the Earth Monster.
I believe that the Native Americans’ perception of the Earth and its elements as characters, rather than things, instills in them a sense of respect and gratitude for all the resources and beauty that it has to offer.