Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a fully documented
account of the annihilation of the American Indian in the late
1800s ending at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Brown brings to light
a story of torture and atrocity not well known in American
history. The fashion in which the American Indian was exterminated
is best summed up in the words of Standing Bear of the Poncas,
“When people want to slaughter cattle they drive them along until
they get them to a corral, and then they slaughter them. So it was
with us_. ”
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a work of non-fiction, attempts to
tell the story of the American West from the perspective of the
indigenous population, The American Indian. That in itself makes
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee an important work of literature as
it is one of the few books supporting the Indian cause. This is
done through the use of council records, autobiographies, and
Each of the book’s nineteen chapters deals with a certain tribe,
battle, or historical event. Brown goes into deep and explicit
detail throughout, as evidenced by the book’s nearly 500 pages.
However, while some may complain Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is
boring or text-book-like, I believe the opposite is actually true.
Generally, very little is known about this terrible genocide and
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a wonderful and interesting
learning tool. Brown has written many books about the life of the
American Indian, including Creek Mary’s Blood and Killdeer
Mountain, but Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is clearly his
Brown made sure to include songs, quotes, and portraits sprinkled
throughout the book. These are very important as they break the
monotony of page after page of text. The portraits are well
selected and placed, as are the quotes, and help present a wider
picture of the point in history.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee helps to open a door into our past.
It forces us to look at the dark side of our American history and
Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat
Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat Edgar Allan Poe wrote that the single effect was the most important aspect of a short story, which everything must contribute to this effect. Poe’s gothic tale “The Black Cat” was written trying to achieve an effect of shocking insanity. In this first person narrative the narrator tells of his decline from sanity to madness, all because of an obsession with two (or possibly one) black cats. These ebony creatures finally drive him to take the life his wife, whose death he unsuccessfully tries to conceal. This short story easily achieved the effect that Poe was looking for through the use of description of setting, symbolism, plot development, diverse word choice, and detailed character development. In most cases, the setting is usually indelible to a story, but “The Black Cat” relies little on this element. This tale could have occurred anywhere and can be placed in any era. This makes the setting the weakest element of “The Black Cat.” Next, symbolism is always an integral part of any Poe story. The most obvious of symbolic references in this story is the cat’s name, Pluto. This is the Roman god of the underworld. Pluto contributes to a strong sense of hell and may even symbolize the devil himself. Another immensely symbolic part of “The Black Cat” is the title itself, since onyx cats have long connoted bad luck and misfortune. The most amazing thing about the symbolism in this story or in any other of Poe’s is that there are probably many symbols that only Poe himself ever knew were in his writings. Furthermore, Poe’s plot development added much of the effect of shocking insanity to “The Black Cat.” To dream up such an intricate plot of perverseness, alcoholism, murders, fire, revival, and punishment is quite amazing. This story has almost any plot element you can imagine a horror story containing. Who could have guessed, at the beginning of the story, that narrator had killed his wife? The course of events in “The Black Cat’s” plot is shockingly insane by itself! Moreover, the words in “The Black Cat” were precisely chosen to contribute to Poe’s effect of shocking insanity. As the narrator pens these he creates a splendidly morbid picture of the plot. Perfectly selected, sometimes rare, and often dark, his words create just the atmosphere that he desired in the story.