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"We lived and died together." How does this reflect a cultural insider's perspective,...

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brendasc54 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 7, 2010 at 6:47 AM via web

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"We lived and died together." How does this reflect a cultural insider's perspective, disrupting streotypes about stoic Indians?

in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 7, 2010 at 7:18 PM (Answer #1)

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The idea of suffering together is an element that emerges from the quote.  The cultural insider point of view that is present is one that reflects the nature of suffering amongst the Indians was something that could only be understood by those who endured it.  The notion of the stoic Native America being one who is separated from the harsh conditions placed upon them is a stereotype that might have actually empowered the aggressor in continuing to inflict policies that were harmful to the nature of the Native America.  In such a quote, the reader fully understands this part of Junior's identity.  Death and suffering are a part of his own consciousness, something that White society fails to understand.  When Junior goes to a white school, the experiences of his being an Indian are negated.  Yet, when Junior experiences the intellectual curiosity that transcends the reservation, the statement's truth might also be reflexive.  What this means is that part of living and dying together is the hope that there could be something else. While such a condition binds Native Americans, Junior's desire to see something else outside of where he is, something outside of death and suffering, might also be motivating his desire to leave.  In this quote, we see a statement on the culture, but also in how this could impact Junior and his own developing sense of consciousness.

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