, Research Paper
“Analysis of a Man Called Horse”
“A Man Called Horse” is a story that shows how a clash between two cultures, Angelo and Indian, effect a mans goal of finding equality, a place where all other people are not superior or inferior to himself. The Story shows that finding equality is not just finding others like yourself. To find equality with others, one must find his own identity within himself and learn to accept it as who he is.
The start of the story sets up the story for the rest of the plot. The story describes a young man who was raised in a wealthy family in Boston. The man had a constant internal conflict with himself, he was always searching for equality. As an attempt to find equality, the man left his busy Boston life to move to the West. When this story took place, in the 1800’s, the West was not settled and it was a simple place where Indians lived and all white men who lived there were believed to be kings. The young man in the story thought that he would be equal to the kings that were believed to be there, but when he got there he realized that nothing had changed.
On a day in June the man was captured by the Crow Indians and his companions were all killed. The man just viewed hid kidnapping as a complication that was just getting in the way of him finding equality. He continuously was thinking of all the things he would say when he got home and how he would be a hero, but he was not sure if and how he would ever get home. The captive of the Crows’ was always being whipped and mistreated. He felt that the way he was being treated symbolized the way one would treat a horse. After he began to understand the Crow language, the young man asked Greasy Hand what his name was. When she shrugged, he told her that his name was Horse. Greasy Hand who was a bossy but, proud and hard working woman from then on called the man Horse when he called him anything.
Horse sees a way that he may have a chance in raising positions within the Crow tribe. By marrying a woman in the tribe Horse thinks that he will receive a higher position and more respect from the Crow Indians. The woman that he is eventually wed to is Greasy Hand’s daughter, Pretty Calf. To Horse, Pretty Calf symbolizes freedom. Horse thinks this because he figures after he has earned enough respect he will easily be able to escape and run away. Horse’s tone in the story changes to raging anger after Pretty Calf’s brother dies in a battle. When Pretty Calf and her mother, Greasy Hand, mourn he sees it as a waste. The allusion in this story presents some Crow customs that are often viewed as stupid and pointless, which is exactly the way Horse feels about the mourning customs like gashing arms with a knife and cutting off fingers at the joints.
A the point in the story when Horse starts to make plans to escape, his wife, Pretty Calf, starts to deliver their baby. During the birth something goes really wrong. After many hours of pain for Pretty Calf, the baby is born dead. An effect of the miscarriage, Pretty Calf also dies. With the death of his wife, Horse knows that he is free from all the responsibilities of his marriage and is free to leave.
After the death of Horse’s wife, Pretty Calf, and his child, the mourning restarts. This time Horse does not think of the process as savage and begins to accept some of the Crow’s culture. Horse mourns the death of Pretty Calf with Greasy Hand. He cuts his arms this time and just earlier he thought that doing such a thing was pointless and insane. Pretty Calf was Greasy Hand’s last living relative among the tribe. People with no living relatives in the Crow tribe are considered as outcasts and scavengers because they had no one to look out after them. In order for Greasy Hand to not become a scavenger, Horse must stay and take care of her. Greasy Hand had to give her last possession to ask Horse, her pride. Greasy Hand asked if he would take care ofher by saying “son?” Horse’s response to her question was “Eegya, Mother,” which meant he would take care of her. Horse took care of Greasy Hand and voluntarily stayed with the Crow Indians for the next three years. When horse finally returned home he did not say much about the past couple of years because he did not need to. Horse was secure with his identity and did not need to be a hero. The end or resolution of the story shows clearly that Horse has found equality. By answering Greasy Hand’s question Mother, Horse showed that he could be nice because he knew he was equal to any other person, he knew he was a man.