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This is the home page for the FYS: Border Crossings space.

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  1. Aug 31, 2009

    Characters:
    The Boy
    Sam Fathers(Indian slave who teaches the boy how to hunt- serves as a father figure)
    Tennie's Jim (Hunting guy)
    Boon Hogganbeck(Hunting Guys)
    Walter Ewell (Hunting guys)
    McCaslin Edmonds (Owner of Sam)
    Major de Spain (owns the hunting grounds)
    Ikkemotubbe (Doom) (Indian Chief who sold his wife and son into slavery)
    Issetibbeha (Wife sold into slavery)
    Moketubbe (Doom's Cousin)
    Carothers McCaslin (fellow hunter)
    Jobaker (Sam's Indian friend who suddenly dies)

    Plot:
    We begin with the hunting of a deer, a boy shoots it and slits its throat. Sam Fathers makes markings on the boy's face as a mark of initiation, symbolizing the journey from boy to man. We are told of Sam's ancestry, how he was a Native American, and how his father sold him and his mother into slavery. He is described as a lion in a cage, and we are told how he is somewhat of a rebel, how he would ignore orders that he was given. Sam taught the boy how to hunt, and serves as a father figure to him. He would spend time with a fellow N.A., Jobaker, who was a Chicksaw like him, but Jobeker dies and Fathers incinerates the hut in which Jobaker lived. Fathers leaves to live in camping grounds, and the boy who has been instructed by Fathers misses him. The narrative returns to the previous time of deer hunting, where Fathers and the boy are hunting in the woods with the boy's relatives. After the killing of the buck, a member of the party says he has seen a gigantic buck that he wants to find. When they look for it, Fathers and the boy, alone, see the buck. Fathers approaches it and calls it "grandfather." The buck walks away, unharmed. Later, in bed with his cousin, the boy tells him of what he saw. The cousin speaks of the interconnectedness of man and nature, and of how some things are timeless and wild. At first the boy thinks his cousin is mocking him, but the cousin tells him that he had also seen the buck, when he went out to hunt with Fathers, in order to kill his first deer.

    Theme/Concept of Identity:

    Becoming a man - When the boy kills the deer, the markings that Fathers puts on his head represent the transition from boy to man. The fact that his cousin also went through this ritual, of at least hunting his first deer with Fathers, shows how different generations must find their way into manhood.

    Freedom- Fathers is taken from freedom into slavery, then is freed again. However, while Fathers is technically a slave, he resists and ignores orders, showing that while he is a slave he is free in spirit. The boy does not have full freedom to go on the hunt that he wants to until he reaches a certain age.

    Culture and tradition within a person and their ancestors, finding who you are - Fathers is described as a "lion in the cage," and the boy's cousin tells him that the reason for this is because he was once free, and that his people are used to more freedom than even the boy and his family have. This was because they lived in the woods and could live how they wanted without a bunch of rules and restrictions. When Fathers is freed, he does not do as other ex-slaves do, who have a different culture than he does because they were raised in slavery. Instead, he has his own blacksmith shop. Finally, he goes to live in the forest, in Big Bottoms, somewhat returning to his ancestry. Similarly, when the boy comes of age through hunting, he is coming into who he really is as an adult.