Nov. 3, 2014 draft-essay 1
Analysis of “Culture and the Universe”
When Puritans came and moved to the West, they tried to instill the fear that nature was chaotic and dangerous. Although this belief was something that non-Native Americans imposed on the Native Americans, it was not accepted because to the Native Americans nature is a huge part of traditions, ceremonies, and everyday life. To the Native Americans, one should live in connection with nature and not just be a part of it. Simon J. Ortiz is a Native American from the
Acoma Pueblo tribe in New Mexico that holds this belief to be true and advocates the Native
American belief in the form of poetry. Ortiz has received many awards because of his writing capabilities. He also joined the military and attended both University of Mexico and University of Iowa. In addition, Ortiz has taught creative writing in several universities. He proposes the idea that there is no separation between culture and nature in “Culture and the Universe” by depicting what he and a group of men practice and encounter during a ceremonie. By using rhetorical devices such as personification, hyperbaton, and certain poetic structures, Ortiz creates the thought-provoking idea that humans “limit” themselves by not “entering the vastness” which is accomplished by being one with the universe and that nature is the location of spiritual reality.
Ortiz utilizes personification by giving earth the human quality to speak so one can identify themselves with the world itself like as if it is an equal or another fellow human, hyperbaton is used to emphasize the importance of the actions taking place in the ceremony being performed, and also used is the poetic structure to emphasize the respect he and the men observing the important moment of silence in the union with the universe.These rhetorical devices help encapsulate the Native American idea that human beings should acknowledge the significance of the natural world and that there shouldn't be a complete separation between culture and nature; instead, culture should be understood as humans’ close engagement with the land.
It seems to be easier to relate to things when we share similar characteristics or features. Ortiz uses personification to bring the universe to life by giving it human like features.
During the ceremony, Ortiz follows the instructions that the universe whispers to him. The universe “sings in quiet meditation,” and says, “lean into me” and Ortiz does as he is told, without hesitation. The fact that the universe sung in “quiet meditation” enhances the idea that the universe not only spoke, but did it in a peaceful manner which makes the universe seem lively. Being peaceful and quiet makes the universe also seem as if it possesses emotions, because it is calm and welcoming. This helps the audience blemish the line that creates a difference between the natural world and humans. Ortiz didn't once question if the situation was even possible, but carried on as if it was normal to have the universe speak to him. The effect of having the universe “speak” to him makes the audience believe that perhaps the universe is something one should form a relationship with. As the ceremony continues to happen, Ortiz tells his audience that the “stone wall [he] leans upon spins [him]” We know that a stone wall doesn't actually “spin” the author, but this mystifying scene creates a climatic ambiance that
interest the reader to read further to see what happens next. The ceremony overall manifests inanimate beings to come to life and make the author feel free spirited as he interacts with the natural world.
Often in literature we stumble upon sentences that don't sound like something that would be expressed in a everyday conversation. Ortiz uses this strategy known as hyperbaton by having words in sentences being placed where they would not be placed in a normal conversation or piece of