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Transformations - Joy Harjo

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Desiree Westphal

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of Transformations - Joy Harjo

Harjo was born in 1951 and is a member of the Muscogee/Creek Nation.

She frequently incorporates Native American symbols, myths, and values into her writings. She also emphasizes the themes of transcendence and remembrance.

We can see Harjo's past influences in her literary style.
Joy Harjo
Nature plays a large role in this poem. As we see, each season comes with certain images that change on a consistent schedule. (Seasons) In contrast, life doesn't match-up from one experience to the next. It isn't consistent or certain. (Post-Modernism?) Instead, nature is the constant, which is a popular theme in Native American literature.
Questions? Review of Crib Sheet.

What does that mean to the author/reader?

Transformation embodies the least resistance to hatred, a coming to terms with those who would destroy her, a transition and transcendence.
A Poetic Analysis
Transformations - Joy Harjo
Literary Elements
Laughing Blackbird - a blackbird is a good omen, teaching others to use their voices to heal.

Other symbolism is seen with the ambulance. It sets the tone of city life, and represents pain and hurt.

"On the other side of the place where you live stands a dark woman. She has been trying to talk to you for years." (Indians to the white man??)

Changing things into something else (hatred) - reference to Whites trying to change Indian culture?

Why is there a split?
After Line 21, we see a split in the poem. There is a division between nature and city life.

Indian heritage focused on nature, but Native Americans were forced to assimilate to city life.

In this division readers see the Native American's hatred of the Whites.
Stylistic Elements
This poem is read as a prose/story. The pause and breaks put emphasis on certain ideas.

EX: First sentence,

-Highlights hatred in center of line, which sets the theme of the poem.
Full transcript