An education challenge I’ve personally experienced worth mentioning would be my inability to do homework. Personally, I’ve always had a dodge and weave nature when it came to topics pertaining to academic affairs, primarily with affairs such as homework. I was always able to get away with never completing homework assignments throughout most of grade school (honestly, I went a good 5-6 years without doing any homework). It became so bad that even if I were failing a class, I’d choose another, much more inconvenient method to pass. I’d normally have no problems with extensive projects, or research papers, but plain homework seemed to, bore me, to say the least.
How I overcame this (if you can say I did) was by basically getting rid of my old immature, probably even whiny, attitude, by recognizing that my next step required my all or nothing, and by asking myself what was more important, instantly gratifying extra hours of doing nothing, or by working hard so that I don’t have to for a long time (delayed gratification). Homework may not be the most important part of an education, but it’s a part of the package. I realized that me dodging and weaving wasn’t gonna get me anywhere, and I needed to kick the problem at its source, which was my horrible levels of procrastination. Although I can’t say I’ve successfully defeated this threat, I can say in realizing what needs to change and accepting it, I’ve already taken the first step into overcoming it.
Zitkala Sa’s The School Days of an Indian Girl Response:
Well, before anything else, I must say, I have a new favorite author. I have a soft spot for Native American stories likes these (apparently), so I’ll get rid of it all right now before moving on to my actual response: WOW I ENJOYED THAT SO MUCH WHAT A FANTASTIC READ, IT WAS SO GOOD I PRACTICALLY SUBCONSCIOUSLY ENDED UP COMMENTING PERSONAL CHEERS FOR HER AS THE STORY PROGRESSED IN HER FAVOR. I’M BUYIN’ THIS; IT’S BEEN DECIDED.
On to an actual serious response, the story was great. Although I was disappointed when I reached the end, I think the few chapters offered more than enough progression story and character wise to discuss about. Especially in the middle and latter half.
First thing I wanted to point out was her character’s early development–specifically between chapters one through the end of five–and her language from then to there. What I found to be most admirable about this young girl had to be her tenacity and burning resolve for most of the story, but I believe her will was strongest within the first five chapters. Despite being at the missionary for quite some time, she continued to resist any form of brainwashing or bribing done by the teachers of the establishment (even going as far as beginning a small “no” uprising for a few paragraphs). Evidence of this was shown very subtly in her speech pattern, such as how in the beginning, where she understood nothing of the European American (better word than pale faces in my opinion)’s, anything, really. Everything perplexed her at first. However a few chapters in, she did show signs of understanding, but still maintained the same level of rebellion she had early in the story. One example of how she integrated herself into the Euro-American culture was around chapter four, where she documented her learning of Old Scratch himself (an uncommon cute nickname used for the Devil). I was already familiar with what the Devil is portrayed as in lots of denominations, so the description was as expected, however what caught my eye in this particular scene was how she described him.
Native Americans are very connected to nature, believing that everything has a soul, something which isn’t exactly commonly thought in Christianity. In this description, while her English is no longer as, awkward, as before, you can still see her N. American roots come into play when she says things like:
I never knew there was an insolent chieftain among the bad spirits…
Trailing at his heels was a scaly tail tipped with a serpent’s open jaws…
… his nose was an eagle’s bill, and his sharp-pointed ears were pricked up like those of a sly fox…
… Above in my throat, as I looked at the king of evil spirits….
Those seem like simple enough descriptions, but the bolded and italicized portions are were my attention was caught. Even when dealing with a different belief system all together, even when later on she seemingly believes all she heard to be all too real, she still tied it all to her roots. She associated the Devil to be an evil spirit, and described him with animals found in nature. She continues to shape her own thoughts despite what those around her wanted her to believe, whether it went with what was taught or not. Eventually it caused her to take drastic decisions for herself.
However, I believe even she can see that the change she underwent was too great, and that she no longer belong with any side, not with nature, not back in her tribe, nor back at the school, and eventually started her own path with herself as her own affiliate. She considered self dulled in terms of appreciation, I would assume, and just began feeling undetached and unloved. However she continued to march on with a strong resolve, a resolve so strong that it caused her to deliberately disobey the same mother she often cried for earlier in the story. She later goes on about how she would cry to herself silently praying for (and I quote) “sympathy”, but still continues to strive for what she wants despite the now fully understood racial slurs attacking her at full force.
The little taste of victory did not satisfy a hunger in my heart….
By the end she not only begins to see her hard work blossom, but she even defeats her own depressive state and continues to aim higher, which only shows even further how she’s grown as a character, and how, well, inspirational her story felt. It honestly does show that even when you feel alone in the physical and mental sense, a mere desire can be enough to take you from living in a wigwam in the dirt to so much more.
Also, I found this cool artwork while researching the author, I know it’s not necessary, but it’s still kinda cool: