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Heritage of Blue Highways

Heritage of Blue Highways

In the country travelers’ Bible, Blue Highways, William Least Heat Moon takes a journey into his Native American heritage as well as into the heart of American culture. As a person of mixed ancestry, Least Heat Moon wishes to seek the history and experiences of his past in his travels. He is especially interested in the Native American element of his heritage because he had no knowledge of his ancestry as he was growing up. At the point at which he begins his journey, after being a student and scholar of Renaissance literature, Least Heat Moon is able to identify more freely with his past (“Whispers…” 58-60). After completing his exploration, Least Heat Moon rewrote the manuscript of his book six times and struggled to find literary agents and publishers. Eventually Least Heat Moon changed the title of the book to Blue Highways, and his luck began to change.

Throughout several stops within the book, Least Heat Moon relates episodes in the history of his Native American ancestors’ lives and experiences. He even changed his name from William Trogdon to his Native American title: William Least Heat Moon. The author explains, “My father calls himself Heat-Moon, my elder brother Little Heat-Moon. I, coming last, am therefore Least” (4). He took the name in order to identify with his ancestry and to honor his Native American kinsmen.

However, one critic thought the changing of his name to be less than genuine saying, “It does not come from Osage country but from Boy Scout make-believe” (“Whispers…” 58-59). Even though William Least Heat Moon knew very little about his Native American past, he was able to recall a long-forgotten family story about one o…

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…er the Nez Perce were forced out of here in the eighteen seventies and the Army sold off their horses” (250). Least Heat Moon often tells how the Native American way of living was not harmful to the land and how their ways were quickly overtaken by the dominating white ways of today.

Throughout Blue Highways, William Least Heat Moon identifies many Native American traditions as well as his own Native American ancestry. Even though Least Heat Moon changed his name to clearly identify with his Native American ancestry, he didn’t choose it in order to forget about his other lineage. He explains, “I will choose for heart, for spirit, but never will I choose for blood” (5). The main goal of his trip was to head for undiscovered parts of America, but it also provided the chance for Least Heat Moon to connect with his Native American past.

Free Essays Settings, Characters, and Ideas in The Blue Hotel

Settings, Characters, and Ideas in The Blue Hotel

The Story “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane was one that inspires a lot of thought. This thought is about settings, characters, and ideas. The characters he creates are very different from each other, as shown in comparisons to each other. The use of symbolism in the story lets us imagine why the hotel is painted blue and we can wonder about the character of the Swede for long periods of time. These elements combined have made this story very good. The settings in the story are a very big focal point of Stephen Crane. He develops them very well and makes them actually serve a purpose in the story. The color blue painted on the outside of the hotel could symbolize its old age and the dark and dreary atmosphere surrounding it. The hotel seems to be a microcosm because it is the central point for all of the story’s characters. The only place that they interact with each other is inside of the hotel and the main points of the story happen there. All of the violent confrontations happen in the hotel or around its grounds. The main fight between the Swede and Johnny is outside in the bitter cold in the street. The hotel could possibly change the characters thinking and cause them to be really weird. This is shown when Scully shows the Swede pictures of his dead family (269). What person in their “right” mind would show someone who thinks they are going to be killed a picture of someone who was killed? These examples show how the settings are more important then the characters themselves. The characters are very odd in this story. It’s very hard to think of how such a group could have been formed. The differences among the men are large. The cowboy is the rugged and sinister type, while the easterner is very open and joyful. Johnnie is not like his dad, Scully. They seem to be foils of each other. The Swede is just very unique and in a class by himself. He is a classic case of a paranoid schizophrenic. Don’t believe me? How about when he says, “I’m crazy-yes, but I know one thing” (267). That one thing is he knows is that he will be killed soon, very soon. The problem and/or question of whether or not the Swede would have been killed whether Johnnie had participated in that fight by his cheating or not, is easy to answer.

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