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Black Elk Speaks Book Report

In the book Black Elk Speaks, being the life story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux as told through John G. Neihardt, an Indian boy then a warrior, and Holy Man describes the life his people had in the lands that belonged to them that were seized by invaders. As a little boy, Black Elk witnessed his village being invaded by Wasichus, a term that was used by Indians to designate the white man, but having no reference to the color of his skin.

Black Elk describes the life of Indians, which is very spiritual and could be very unattainable to understand to the naked eye of a regular person who did not know all the Indians beliefs. While still young, at the age of nine, Black Elk had a vision where he was the leader of all his people. Where he was given a gift from Great Spirits to save the Indian civilization by driving a way the Wasichus from their native land. After the dream, he was courageous and willing to go fight the barbarians. The deep spiritual significance of the dream came to him when he was older and wiser.

Growing up Black Elk and his friends were already playing the games of killing the whites and they waited impatiently to kill and scalp the first Wasichu, and bring the scalp to the village showing how strong and brave they were.

The book showed that the Indians destiny was to roam through the world in would do anything to progress in the stages of life aiming for predominance over everything. This gives off the example of the white race over the Indians, not even in the way of whites wanting to destroy Indians, but the possessive feature of the whites wanting to expand to the territory that they believe is theirs. In analyzing the book, I would not say that the author was not persuasive; it was more of him not giving the straight facts that would induce us of real horror.

The author was just describing the day-to-day life with all the rituals and traditions it did portray the feeling they had towards the whites. This book differs from other works; in a way that the author gives exact experience one Indian had, and the biggest difference is that the book is written from the person words that actually experienced it.

The author gives a good background of the relationship white settlement and Indian cultures had, which supported by the life experience. An author depicts all the emotions of struggle and happiness at the times when it is hard to imagine it. It actually is not the author who is persuasive, but the Black Elk himself, because he is the one that actually can convey the exact feeling and images to the reader.

The ways in which the author could strengthen the book, in my opinion, is instead all the descriptive, to me meaningless points as how they were coloring themselves, the author should have put a little bit more facts in finding a better life, which they could not find anywhere, because they were persecuted and being destroyed.

The most important aspect of the book shows how young Indians aggressively try to overcome all of the harsh reality and attain the one point that would substantially change their lives. The book shows how spirituality and unity among the people of the specific Indian tribe, Oglala, gave them strength for trying to overcome the peoples superiority that spoiled many of the natives lives.

John Gneisenau Neihardt, man of poetry, philosophy, and celebrator of the old west with all its hopes, dreams and despair. Born near Sharpsburg, Illinois, on January 8th 1881, when the vast frontier still had the lure of discovery and adventure. Neihardt would experience the harsh homestead life of drought, famine, and fire of the Great American Plains.

The Neihardt family moved to Wayne, Nebraska, and John during a high fever had a propelling vision that convinced him he must write poetry. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science at age sixteen and then finished his first book, The Divine Enchantment a volume of poetry inspired by the sacred texts of India.

By the time of his death at age 92, John Neihardt was widely respected and Black Elk Speaks had been published in six languages. His life and work reveal a vast spirited love for adventure, nature and Native American Culture. Neihardt had a real sense of the cosmos, and relation to what he liked to call “the music of what happens.”

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