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Myths, Symbols and Images in select poems of Jeannette C. Armstrong

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Introduction

‘Half-breed’ is the term used by the whites in Canada to denote the natives who are born out of the native blood line; eg:The Metis are descendants of the marriage between the French, Amerindians and the natives of Canada. The word ‘metis’ means ‘mixing up’. The various indigenous tribes in Canada were homogenized by the European colonizers under the process of conversion to Christianity. The whites imposed their tradition and culture onto the aboriginals who had diverse and varied rituals, customs and traditions. Even the judicial system in Canada had been a biased one and enforced different laws for the natives and the whites. The native cannot enjoy their rituals, cannot drink and spend their time in merry-making; if they are found so, they are subjected to punishment whereas a non-native is not. The Residential schools are another threat to the natives. The children of the natives are forcefully admitted to these schools run by missionaries on the pretext of imparting education and refining them of their native-ness and transforming them into better humans. Ironically this social purification, agenda propounded by ‘white man’s burden’ acts as a pretext behind the brutal exploitation of the natives of their ethnicity as well as moral well-being; some are made subjects to the sexual gratification of the authorities of the schools. The parents who lose their children to such civilizing agencies fall into the dark pits of alienation and hopelessness taking refuge in alcohol and drugs. The women are molested and driven to prostitution. The native writers voice these issues through their work of literature and art that evince a strong sense of regaining their native tongue/language that has been seized from them:

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...yth. New Delhi: Penguin, 2005. Print.

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Nowlan , Michael O. Themes in Canadian Literature: Canadian Myths and Legends. Canada:

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Segal, Robert A. Theorizing about Myth. USA: Book Crafters, 1999. Print.

---. Myth:Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, Vol. I-IV. New York and London:

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Strauss,Levi. Myth and Meaning. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.

---.Anthropology and Myth:Lectures 1951-1982.Trans. Roy Willis. Oxford and New York: Basil

Blackwell, 1987. Print.

Thomas, P. Epics, Myths and Legends of India. Bombay: D.B.Taraporewala and Sons, 1961.

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