Short Fiction Essay: Setting
"I hear again the ring of axes in deep woods, the crunch of snow beneath my feet. I feel again the smooth velvet of ghost-birch bark" (Whitecloud 157). In "Blue Winds Dancing," author Tom Whitecloud uses vivid descriptions of the outdoors. He allows us to understand how beautiful nature is. He gives nature a personality. His surroundings are almost a character themselves. In this story, Whitecloud is the main character. Written in first person, he brings us on his journey from civilized American lifestyle back to his homeland at an Indian Reservation near Woodruff, Wisconsin. On his trip back to his homeland, he compares his American ways of life to his heritage. He writes of how happy he is to be returning to his heritage. He begins to recollect his memories of the culture and is very anxious to be with his people again. He writes of how much the trees, mountains, snow, the "blue winds" and his people mean to him. When he reaches his homeland he is very happy to be home.
This is the opening of the story. Whitecloud is tired. He wishes he has spent more time with his people:
There is a moon out tonight. Moon and stars and clouds tipped with moonlight. And there is a fall wind blowing in my heart. Ever since this evening, when against a fading sky I saw geese wedge southward. They were going home" (Whitecloud 156).
He is ashamed to have left his homeland where he was raised to join the lifestyle of the American.
He will begin his trip home. With the moon and stars out we are given a sense of something coming to an end. A "fall" wind in our heart also indicates something is about to end.
Coming to an end are his ways of the typical American life. He is leaving them behind to reunite with his people. He can see the geese flying southward back to their home. This reminds him of how he is also going home.
Whitecloud is tired of his civilized life, but is glad he is leaving it behind:
I am tired. I want to walk again...
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