Dances With Wolves Essay, Research Paper
Through the eyes of the narrator, John Dunbar, we experience the majesty and magnitude of the American frontier, and the complexity of the relationship between the whiteman’ and the Indian’. When John Dunbar met the Indians, he was scared because of the stereotype set by the Ponee and other savage Indians. The Indians had a lot of weird traditions. One of Dunbar’s experiences was when they finished the buffalo hunt, they took the heart out, which was still warm, and offered it to Dunbar. This was a demonstration of traditions which we may find disgusting but considered polite in the Indian world.
The Indians had a very basic way of living. They worked together as a team to set up their living quarters and they shared almost everything. They utilized everything obtained from their hunting so they wasted no food at all. If they hunted a buffalo, they used every part of it, even the teeth! They saved the extra food for the winter and hunted only when needed. They planted crops and harvested it in the summer, because in the winter, it was hard to hunt or grow food so they needed to have an adequate food supply for the winter.
The Ponee were one of the reasons that the stereotype arose. The ponee were savages and they killed fellow Indians and anyone else in sight. They didn’t save food for the winter. They stole food from fellow tribes that spent a lot of time saving up for this food supply. The Ponee were very good trackers and were frequently hired as guides for the whiteman. They could tell which direction the other Indians went and this helped the whiteman a lot when they needed to hunt down men like John Dunbar.
The Indians had fears and perceptions of the whiteman. They had perceptions that more and more whiteman would come to their land. Their fear was that the whiteman would come and take over the land. They would kill their peaceful tribe and give them no choice but in where to live. “They take without asking” was one of the main fears of the Indians, the whiteman would steal their food and change their native’s lifestyle. The mythology of the Indians was addressing their origin, history, deities and ancestors to give thanks whenever they were thankful for animals they killed.
I think the title “Dances with Wolves” is a metaphor. Wolves are thought as very dangerous animals with lightning fast reflexes. It is comparing John Dunbar’s friendliness to his native neighbors and to animals around him. The wolf’s agility and ability to move very fast made it seem like him dancing with Dunbar when he was following Dunbar. In reality, the wolf, twosocks was playing with Dunbar. The Indians believed that when someone dies, their spirit is still with them and that they are in a better place. So, when twosocks died, his spirit was within their world and he still had the breathtaking howl left in him to salute his friend for life, John Dunbar.