When The Legends Die Analysis

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When the Legends Die by Hall Borland, a Native American, in the 1930’s Thomas Black Bull is orphaned at a young age and left to live alone in the old ways in the wilderness. Tom’s life changes drastically when a fellow Ute Indian, Blue Elk, comes, finds, and tricks him in coming to live at a reservation school to learn the way of the white people. From this point forward, all the people in his life force him to abandon his Indian way of life. Throughout the book, Thomas struggles to forget his meaningful childhood life as an Indian while being forced to live a life in a white man’s world which he hates. Thomas’ connection to who he is cut off when Blue Elk burns down his lodge, when Thomas rides broncos to death, and when Thomas tracks and plans on killing the grizzly bear. Peace and freedom only come to Tom when he has a spiritual experience which reveals truth to him.…show more content…
Thomas runs away from the Mission School and returns to his mountain home. When he arrives he expects to find his brother the bear and the rest of his animal family, but instead he finds a “charred circle” (70) where his lodge used to be. Tom then “…stood among the ashes and whispered the sorrow chant…For small griefs you shout, but for the big griefs you whisper or say nothing. The big griefs must be borne alone, inside” (70.) He knows that it was Blue Elk who did it because there is not one item of worth left behind, not even the knife Tom’s mother gave him. Blue Elk is well known among the people of the reservation as a person who will do anything for money. When he is asked, “You would sell your own grandmother, wouldn’t you…?” Blue Elk seriously states, “My grandmother is dead” (54.) When Tom’s lodge is burned, he loses his connection to the wilderness, and he also loses his connection to his
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