What is Dee Brown's writing style in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?
please make reference to his diction, vocabulary, sentence structure, and use of figurative language, literal language, and symbolism.
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Brown combines third person omniscient narration with first-person commentary, allowing him to present both factual information and personal reactions to the events described in the book. The third-person narrative is presented in standard English; quotes from real people reflect educational levels, familiarity with the language, and the deep emotions coming out of the situations. In pleading with the Commissioner, Red Cloud summarized his concerns and requests.
We are but a handful, and you are a great and powerful nation. You make all the ammunition; all I ask is enough for my people to kill game. The Great Spirit has made all things that I have in my country wild...I have eyes; I see all you whites, what you are doing, raising stock, and so forth. I know I will have to come to that in a few years myself;
Figurative language is present primarily as used by one side to describe the other. Brown tells of Sitting Bull's vision, explaining that Sitting Bull told of
soldiers falling like grasshoppers, with their heads down and their hats falling off...Because the white men had no ears and would not listen, Wakantanka the Great Spirit was giving these soldiers to the Indians to be killed.
Most of the text is presented in very literal language, using straightforward vocabulary to describe the actions and reactions and misunderstandings that complicated the negotiations at every step. Symbolism is not extensively used; some irony is present in comments such as the story of the banner in the church where the injured were taken after the battle at Wounded Knee. "Across the chancel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner: PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN."
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