The prose saga of Anpao is a blending of history and myth, for within the novel are two distinct journeys. First is the trip through American Indian legends that the boy undertakes on his quest to find the Lodge of the Sun. The story of this journey, written with the cadence of the storyteller, incorporates many techniques found in the oral tradition. The voice of Wasicong, the storyteller, is formal as in Western European ep-ics. The settings are intentionally vague, with many flat, one-dimensional characters and many stereotypes and symbols. Each adventure represents at least one of the four main types of American Indian myths: family drama, trickster tale, transition story (from life to death), and passage through the animal world. As he makes his journey, Anpao learns about many things that became important in American Indian culture, such as corn and buffalo, and about the respect that people should have for nature, animals, and their elders. The final uniting of Anpao and Ko-ko-mik-e-is can be seen as the unification of the Sun and Earth (Anpao) with the Moon (Ko-ko-mik-e-is).
This first journey of Anpao has been compared to parts of Homer’s Greek epic The Odyssey. Just as The Odyssey blends stories from various parts of the ancient Aegean world into the adventures of a young boy on a quest to become a man, Anpao draws its tales from a variety of American Indian tribes. Among the tribes represented are the Blackfeet, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Papago, Zuni, and Sahaptian.
(The entire section is 631 words.)