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What does the narrator mean when he says that description of various kinds of tribes...

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monahi | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 27, 2009 at 1:49 AM via web

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What does the narrator mean when he says that description of various kinds of tribes had been from the begining, capriciously vagrant?

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

Posted July 27, 2009 at 2:00 AM (Answer #1)

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This might be Saroyan's way of expressing that the whereabouts of certain tribes might be difficult to trace.  The question of whether the Garoghlanian tribe, for example, was a real tribe or a fictionalized group has been one of considerable debate.  The reality seems to be that many Armenians who emigrated to the United States around the time when Saroyan is writing did so to flee from the Armenian Massacre perpetrated at the hands of the Turks.  This holocaust wiped out millions of Armenians, and certainly various tribes of Armenians were either destroyed or were forced to wander about in a capriciously vagrant manner- sojourning in a rootless manner, broken apart from both homeland and one another at the hands of merciless cruelty.  To a certain extent many immigrants endure this, but Saroyan is particularly sensitive to the plight of the Armenians, given their brutal treatment by the Turks following World War I.  His description of tribes being "capriciously vagrant" might be a way to describe the reality and experiences of the Garoghlanian tribe and/ or other Armenian tribes like them.

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