The Medicine Bag by Virginia Driving Hawk

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There comes a point in everyone’s life when they go through an experience that enables them to come to age, and transition into adolescence. In Virginia Sneve’s short story, “The Medicine Bag”, Martin learns a valuable lesson on judging others as he comes to a realization on what a true Aboriginal is. In addition, he understands that his assumptions about his friends’ attitudes were inaccurate. Martin also moves from a phase of thinking of himself solely to thinking of others, as noted when he starts to reflect on his grandfather’s feelings. The protagonist, Martin, definitely moves from childhood to adolescence, as he comes of age and changes into a more mature and knowledgeable individual during his grandfather’s visit.
In the story, Martin uses stereotypes and comparisons to label people, however he matures as he understands an individual should be defined by their actions, and not a piece of clothing, their appearance, or status. For example, Martin reveals that he never showed his friend’s Grandpa’s portrait because his “Grandpa wasn’t tall and stately like TV Indians” (Sneve, 1). He compares Grandpa to the “ideal” aboriginals that are portrayed on TV, and he holds an idealistic view on Aboriginals. He believes that to be an Aboriginal, one has to look and dress in a certain way. Through his limited perception, he concludes that Grandpa isn’t Aboriginal simply because he does not look like one. Moreover, as Martin offers drinks to his friends, no one replies as they are listening attentively to Grandpa retell the story about “how he [kills] the deer from which his vest is made"(Sneve, 5). Martin begins to feel proud of his grandfather. His friends, who he thought would make fun of grandpa, enjoy grandpa’s company, and liste...

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...idual. He realizes that people are more than a label, and that stereotypes do not define who you are. He also grasps that his friends would enjoy grandfather’s company rather than laugh at him. He changes into a much more sympathetic person, as he starts to think about his grandfather’s feeling, rather than being egocentric. Grandfather’s visit provided Martin the rich experience needed to enable him to come of age and appreciate his valuable heritage. Through this experience, Martin looks at the world through a different perspective, and see’s that the “fringes of life offers a unique experience, but there's a time to see what [life] looks like from the dance floor (Chbosky).”



Works Cited

Stephen, Chbosky. The perks of being a wallflower. 2012. Web.

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