Character Analysis Of Dances With Wolves

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At the beginning of our course, we watched the 1990 film Dances With Wolves, directed by, produced by and starring Kevin Costner. Set in the 1800’s during the American Civil War, Dances With Wolves follows Lieutenant John Dunbar who, after being posted at a virtually abandoned fort, comes into contact with the Sioux tribe of Native Americans. At first, they are scared of each other, but despite the language barrier, they manage to communicate. The storyline shows how their relationship develops to the point where John is given the name ‘Dances With Wolves’. We had a class discussion about the film, and we all agreed the film showed that the Americans hated the Native Americans because they did not understand them or their culture. They were not open-minded enough to attempt to communicate, instead shooting them on sight. There was a strong barrier between them, the Americans believing the Native Americans to be uncultured and thieving, whilst it is shown that the Sioux think the Americans are murderers and evil. The film shows that the Native Americans are very peaceful, spiritual people who work together and love each other as a family. They give symbolic names based on significant features of a person (e.g. Stands With A Fist got her name because she punched a woman who was being cruel to her) and they smoke ‘peace pipes’. They rely on buffalo (or ‘tatanka’) for food and clothing and are able to pack up and move around quickly. They paint themselves and their horses
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