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“The Medicine Bag” by Virgina Driving Hawk Sneve Every culture has traditions passed down from generation

to generation and the Sioux Indians are no different. “The Medicine Bag” by Virgina Driving Hawk Sneve is about a half Indian boy, Martin, who has embraced American’s way of life. One day he notices his Indian grandfather walking down his street. Confused and embarrassed, Martin quickly goes over to greet him. Later the readers learn that Martin’s grandfather traveled from the Rosebud Reservation to the neighborhood because it was about time to hand down the tradition of the medicine bag to Martin. As the days go by, Martin advoids bring his friends over, in fear of his friends not accepting his grandfather. However after about two month, Martin couldn’t stop his friends from coming over. But to his surprise, he finds his grandfather dressed in a unique vest and that his friends were very respectful. The next day Martins grandfather passes the medicine bag, along with the story behind it, down to Martin. Martin’s grandfather soon dies, and Martin carries on the tradition of the medicine bag. In “The Medicine Bag,” Sneve uses symbolism, tone, and characterization to emphasize the importance of decendances carrying on the old-time traditions and culture of their ancestors, despite the modren world in which most people live in. The main symbol in this story is a dirty old leather pouch, called the medicine bag. To many people the medicine bag would seem like a worthless old pouch, but to Martin’s grandfather, the pouch is priceless. It has a rich history to it and has been passed down for generations. “…He had to follow the tradition of his family to pass the medicine bag along with its history to the oldest male child”(124.) The medicine bag symbolically represents the family tradition, Sue Indian culture, and the connection with ancestors' history. The medicine bag also helped Martin’s great grandfather find his destiny. Martin knows how important it is to his grandfather to have the tradition and story of the medicine bag carried on, and he slowly begins

“ I was so proud of him and amazed at how respectfully quiet my buddies were. they were very respectful of his grandfather and facinated by the Sioux Indian stories. “ I could never wear such a thing.” Martin soon slowly begins to feel better about his Indian heritage and medicine bag tradition. “ the medicine bag was the dirty leather pouch I had found around his neck. Martin’s friends come to see his grandfather anyways.” The symbolism of the medicine bag has been woven in throughout the story to form a deeper message.” I almost said aloud. The tone that Sneve uses shows Martin’s attitude towards his grandfather and his Indian culture. It also shows how Martin changes his attitude throughout the story. Martin’s grandfather knows how Martin feels about carrying on the tradition of the medicine bag and sees Martin’s worries about his friends making fun of him. He fully carries out the tradition of the medicine bag when he “… stood alone on the lonely prairie of the reservation and put the sacred sage in my medicine bag. but he is reluctant to do so. To Martin’s surprise even though his friends didn’t understand Indian customs and culture. Though Martin is ignorant to Indian customs. I thought of having my friends see it in gym class.to feel the importance of the medicine bag himself. Martin knows how important it is to his Indian family that he carries on the tradition of the medicine bag. and could imagine the smart things they would say. He is afraid of what his friends would say. his grandfather is wise understands American way of living. However despite his efforts. He .” As time goes by Martin constantly feels uneasy about the medicine bag and embarrassed by his Indian grandfather. He avoids bring his friends over. Sneve’s tone shows that at first. The tone Sneve uses reflects Martin’s astonishment and awe. Martin understands the history and culture behind the medicine bag. One method Sneve uses to characterize Martin’s grandfather is through his behavior and speech. By the end of the story. at the swimming pool.

“The Medicine Bag” was inspired by her oldest son and the excitement he caused over his uncle’s visit. Sneve writes to inform her children about their heritage and to correct their misconceptions of Indian people.” Martin’s grandfather’s pacient and wise charaterstics helps Martin understand his Indian traditions and culture. Sneve grew up on the Rosebud Reservation but moved to Iowa with her husband.’…’It would not be right to wear it in this time and place. When his grandfather woke up one morning.’” Martin’s grandfather also knows when the right time to do something is and when something will happen. I knew my grandson would be bring his friends. you need not wear it. Her inspirations and knowledge of the Sioux Indian traditions and culture further makes this story deep in thought and meaning. and how it can fit in with the American culture and modern life that he is living. Her children only knows about Sioux Indians culture form summer visits to the Rosebud Reservation. he said “it seemed right to dress in the good clothes. and characterization is used by Sneve to highlight the importance of ancestry’s culture and tradition being carried out by younger generations in the contemporary society that most people live in.comforts Martin by saying “ ‘No. Symbolism. where no one will understand. tone. .

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