Four Mountain Wolves Essay

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In The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions, Paula Gunn Allen correctly notes that many Indian writers "derive many of their structural and symbolic elements from certain rituals." While "Four Mountain Wolves" could very easily be a poem describing four different wolves among four different landscapes, it could just as easily be a creative play on a Native American ritual in which a shaman embodies or becomes a wolf in a ceremony. In a Native American ceremony, and in particular, a Navajo chant, a singer not only narrates a story but in so doing, actually becomes that which he is ritualizing. In her important book Navajo Religion: A Study of Symbolism, G. A. Reichard, a scholar of Navajo folklore and mythology, claims that Wolf plays an important role in the Flint chant, a ritual for healing in which "Dark wolf represents Bear; White Wolf, Wolf...

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This section contains 403 words
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Poetry for Students
Four Mountain Wolves from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.