Analysis of the Theme of Racial and Cultural Division

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Analysis of the Theme of Racial and Cultural Division


The theme that cuts across all the A predominant theme occurring in the five novels, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Ceremony, Canicula, George Washington Gomez, and Paradise is racial and cultural division, . The gap created by the ethnic divide is the cause of the problems faced by the main characters in all these textswhich in most cases, has caused problems experienced among the characters. The booksallude toreference  both modern and historical events and concepts as a means of developingto develop character and plot. Many parallels of past events are also drawn, such as the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the tumultuous relationship between White people and Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic people. The In addition, the authors also draw from their personal experiences as people of color, who grew up in a world where cultures and worlds collided in such a way that it shaped many of their life’s experiencesthey encountered racial segregation. Related themes include racism, ethnocentrism, and colorism, which exist aswere a result of two or more cultures and races interacting with White people and settlers of that time. Thus, the books provide essential insight into the past, helping us to understand the present, and empowering us to envision a betterthe future regarding how different people interactof human relationships. From a literary perspectiveIn literature, the historical concepts and references provide a sound basis to understanding how two or more cultures have associated in the past.


Overriding Themes.

The theme of intersecting cultures and races has been heavily extensively explored in the five books. Furthermore, thisThis interconnection has formed the basis of conflicts exhibited among characters. Told from the perspective of people of color, the interrelation between themstories reveal the and Europeans has been mostly negative, wrought withviolence, separationsegregation, and attempts at assimilationcharacterized relationships between natives, coloredsand Europeans. In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior expresses the disunity existing between the Native American community living within in the reservation and that ofthe Whites. When he leaves for his new and predominantly white school Reardan, he is seen as a betrayer by members of his community, mainly his friends (Alexie 45). The attitude Junior’s colleagues show him makes the contempt the natives have for Whitespalpable.

Alexie also provides portrays a the stark contrast that exists between life in and outside the reservation and that of the outside. Privilege, opportunity, and economic stability characterize the lives of white people, particularly those in Junior’s school. , whereas On the other hand, there is extreme poverty, high unemployment rates, alcoholism, and poor healthcare within the typify the reservation from which Junior hails. In Leslie Silko’s Ceremony, there are similar relationships between the Native American and white communities. There are parallels between Junior and Tayo, who identify themselves as members of the Native American community. With Tayo, the relationship between him and the outside world is more personal, as he embodies two worlds coming together through his mixed racial heritage (Silko 44). In Tayo’s world, exploitation ofthe Native American land is exhibited by anloses its agricultural crisis caused byproductivity as a result of pollution from mines. Assimilation is represented by how cFurthermore, children are forced to abandon their culture and identities as a means of attainingfor western education and values in an attempt to get assimilated into the white community.

            The theme of the racial and cultural division is also evident in Toni Morrison’s Paradise. This theme is embodied by theThe town of Ruby, which consists almost exclusively of African American people who were ostracized from other communities because of their skin color. The city, which was built by several founding families, aimed to resettle members of the community who were shunned from the white and light-skinned populations (Morrison 66). Ironically, the same concept of racial discrimination and colorism exists within the secluded town of Ruby, only reversed, . soSo, white and light-skinned people face prejudice. There are parallels between Junior and Tayo, who identify themselves as members of the Native American community. The theme of division is also evident in the community when some members present new ideas such as those of civil rights. Older members of Ruby are keen to preserve the culture, identity, and history of the town through by rejecting these ideas,  which would require interacting with the outside world more than necessary.

            Cultural division is also evidenced in Norma Elia’s Canicula, where racism, xenophobia, and cultural clashes form the predominant themes. Canicula explores the historical human characteristics of the need to create separations and boundaries as a way means of forming identities away from people. Having grown up in a world where the two traditions collided, the author understands how destructive these boundaries can be to the lives of people on both sides (Cantu). These effects of these clashes are felt through fear, hostility, and violence.

            Similarly, Gualianto, the center of focus in Paredes’ George Washington Gomez Racism faces the challenge of racism and division are experienced by Gualianto, the center of focus in Paredes’ George Washington Gomez. From a young age, the protagonist and his family faceare confronted withsignificant racial prejudice from the Anglo Americans and Texas Rangers. Coming from a poor Mexican family, Gualianto also faces the challenges of poverty and cultural divisiondiscrimination in the midst of Anglo American migration (Paredes). From the intersection of these two communities, Gualianto finds himself in the midst of guerrilla warfare and political instability. Because of this cultural convergence, Paredez explores the theme of an identity crisis as experienced by the protagonist experiences an identity crisis as he tries to navigate the two worlds.

            The discussion of such themes the theme of racism and cultural division and the underlying ideasis essential as it provides some insight into human nature and affinity to identity and conflict. It helps to us not only to understand experiences from different perspectives but also develop systems that aim to bridge the gap of divide caused by these conflicts. For instance, through a study of the relationship of between the settlers and Native American groups from the perspective of the latter, common misconceptions are debunked, and the more critical human similarities that underline human nature and needs are drawn. Norma Elia Cantu emphasizes the need for recognizing the ills of arbitrary borders, which cause only violence and chaos, preventing people from appreciating the similarities that would otherwise unite peoplethem.

Literature and History.

Historical references are predominant within in all the five stories. Further, tFor instance, the contact between Native Americans and white settlers has been widely explored in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Leslie Silko’s Ceremony. Introducing western education to young Native American children was aimed at assimilating them into the culture of the westWest. Challenges The challenges brought about by Western influence were also evident through in systematic racism, which prevented Native Americans from getting jobs outside of their reservations (Silko 38). High unemployment rates further exacerbated prospects for members of this community, and thus led to an increase in rates of alcoholism. The development of the world as it was in the past is also a reflection of how it is today. In Ceremony, through the Second World War, Silko has been used to describes how changing racial relationships affected the lives of veterans. Additionally, the posttraumatic stress, which Tayo experiences, is consistent with the experiences of real-life veterans after a the war, having witnessed extreme violence, fear, trauma, injuries, and instability within their surroundings. These historical events have shaped the current racial relationships and by analyzing them and their causes, people can develop systems toprevent similar occurrences.

Relevance to this Discipline.

The themes explored are relevant to this discipline as they provide the context of the historical literature presented. Through the stories, relationships among groups of people become more evidentdiscernibleas one observes it them from the unique perspective of a character. Furthermore, one draws patterns of human behavior in the past, which they can then relate to the present. In this analysis, human behavior is exhibited through patterns of conflict, prejudice, and the need for an identity through belonging to a community. Some characters are caught in between clashing worlds, forcing them to form personalities that encompass this intersection. Others such as Gualianto and Junior are required to establish their personalities outside of their cultural backgrounds. A literary perspective reveals how different characters navigate the conflicts through the various decisions they make. Through this class, I have developed insight into how vitalhuman experiences are in influencinghave influenced language and literature in the past and present. Moreover, there is an underlying lesson in all the five stories that human beings are first human before they are anything else; that is, white, black or colored. Therefore, all the boundaries drawn by man are vanity and any system that seeks to be accepted in modern society must do away with discrimination based on race. As such, if I started a project, I would be sure to hire workers from diverse races, so long as they have the qualifications. I would also establish rules that completely makediscrimination unacceptable, seeing that the consequences of drawing bordersbased ethnicity are almost entirely destructive.


A significant theme experienced inIn the five books is, racial and cultural division. This division has been characterized by exploitation, assimilation, violence, and various forms of prejudice, and attempts at assimilation. These forms of conflict have also embodiedembody some of the fundamental human behaviors that have shaped the history and present state of society. Historical references are evident, such asto the relationship between Native Americans and white settlers and the Second World War, for instance, which for a time changed the racial relations. A discussion abouttheon  theme of ethnic and cultural conflicts has been essential to understanding human behavior, which helps to shape the future in a more positive and unified way. The polarization of groups based on their cultures, skin color, or appearance has been associated with adverse consequences, as seen from the perspective of characters. Therefore, there has beenis a dire need to study patterns of human nature behavior through as portrayed in the literary fieldliterature to shape the future in a more positive and unified waycreate a better future.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Recorded Books, 2008.

Cantú, Norma Elia. Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera. UNM Press, 2015.

Morrison, Toni. Paradise: 1997. Random, 1999.

Paredes, Américo. George Washington Gómez. Arte Publico Press, 2016.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. Penguin, 1977.

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