Enllish 802 Essay

Submitted By RobertThomas2
Words: 1410
Pages: 6

Deceit in the Family
From the Clackamas Chinook, “Seal and Her Younger Brother Lived There” is a myth about a mother named Seal, her daughter (the girl), and Seal’s younger brother, also the girl’s uncle. The uncle had a wife who would go outside and urinate every night and Seal’s daughter would claim that the wife sounded like a man when going to the bathroom. Every time Seal would tell her that they are “going out” or “copulating.” This went on for a while and one day the daughter informed Seal that she heard dripping. Once again Seal told her that they were “going.” Finally the daughter noticed that her uncle’s neck was cut and the dripping she heard was the blood. Seal only screamed, “Younger brother! My younger brother!”(101) while the daughter wept. Another myth which is from the Coos is called “The Revenge Against the Sky People.” It is about an elder brother and a man who approached him while he was building canoes. The man would constantly ask the elder brother questions about his work and daily life. The elder brother was eventually killed and so the younger brother went out looking for the culprit. He approached a woman digging fern-roots whom he would ask many questions. He then killed her and skinned the woman, putting on her hide. He met the woman’s husband and would do whatever the woman had told him before he killed her. But the man with the woman’s hide on made a mistake when he gave fern-roots the old people whom the real woman would never give fern-roots to. The husband’s younger brother would always say that his “wife” looked like a man but his grandmother would make up excuses to cover it. One night, the “wife” cut off the head of the husband and seized her elder brother’s head, escaping in a canoe in the process. These two myths are similar in multiple ways and each deal mainly with deceit along with lying to fellow in-laws and family members. In both myths, there is a trickster who makes the other family member believe he is the ‘wife” but in fact “she” is a “he.” In “Seal and Her Younger Brother Lived There,” the daughter would constantly tell her mother Seal that her uncle’s “wife” would urinate like a man. In “Sky People,” the husband’s little brother would accuse his brother’s “wife” of looking like a man. In both cases, the mother or grandmother would make an excuse to cover up the “wife’s” identity or what is actually going on. Another similarity is the “dripping” of blood. The girl (daughter) in “Seal and Her Younger Brother” heard dripping and soon after the uncle was found murdered. Likewise, in the “Sky People” myth, there was dripping of blood from the bed in which it was from the husband. The so-called “wife” was the trickster in both stories and also in each, the individual who would make excuses to cover up the “wife’s” true identity would be the first one to discover the dead body. Dell Hymes wrote “The ‘Wife’ Who ‘Goes Out’ Like a Man: Reinterpretation of a Clackamas Chinook Myth” where he discusses the myth of “Seal and Her Younger Brother Lived There.” He splits it into two interpretations, one of which is his own that he calls the second interpretation and the other being the first interpretation by Melville Jacobs. Hymes concludes that the story belongs to Seal herself and not Seal’s brother and his homicidal “wife,” as said in Ramsey’s article. Hymes supposes that the sinister “wife” is not a murderous homosexual or transvestite, but he believes it is a Trickster. The Trickster creates drama and confusion in the plots of myth narratives. Hymes also reminds us that the Trickster may simply be an essential plot agent who “makes things happen for the narrator” (11). He concludes that the disguised Trickster is responsible for the killings, as with the murder of Seal’s younger brother. Hymes is right about the girl’s culpability, or guilt. Dell Hymes says, “…the murder is already under way, if not complete. What she says is in response to evidence of the murder (the dripping);…