Joy Harjo Deer Dancer Analysis

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Joy Harjo has been my favorite author that we have studied this year. She brought a level of insight and understanding that many of the other authors did not. Her love of life and her theme of continuing on despite challenges puts a spin on Native Americans that is not always addressed in Native American literature. Harjo’s works do not ignore the difficulties of life, but encompass them as well as the things that make life worth living. It is important to understand when discussing Harjo that she does not ignore the issues and difficulties in life and pretend they do not exist. In many of her works she acknowledges them and the toll they have taken on her. In her poem “Deer Dancer”, she writes, “This is the bar of broken survivors,…show more content…
She writes in her poem “Remember”, “Remember that you are all people and all people are you”. This line emphasizes how much she believes each person is individually so important to the world, and brings so much to the table. She writes in “Metamorphosis” how each student in her school had a different talent that made them each unique and valuable, and she expresses this value again in “The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window” (Harjo 681-682). In this poem, the woman in the poem is not expressed only as…show more content…
Instead, she embraces it and is proud where she came from. In her poem, “The Myth of Blackbirds”, she addresses her admiration for her ancestors and what they stood for. She writes, “I embrace these spirits of relatives who always return to the place of beauty, whatever the outcome in the spiral of power” (Harjo). Her pride in her past expresses a different sort of emotion towards this than some other Native American authors possess. As some of the other works we have read this semester show, a Native American history can be the root of a great deal of pain, especially for those whose ancestors come from multiple backgrounds. While many Native American authors do not look negatively towards their pasts, there is sometimes a removal from it that Harjo does not have. She accepts it as a part of herself; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This to me is an admirable quality about Harjo’s writing. She also writes in “The Myth of Blackbirds”: And I am thankful to the brutal city for the space which outlines your limber beauty. To the man from Ghana who also loves the poetry of the stars. To the ancestors who do not forget us in the concrete and paper illusion. To the blackbirds who are exactly blackbirds. And to you sweetheart as we make our incredible

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