Living Sideways: Social Themes And Relationships In Native American Trickster Tales

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In his article, Living Sideways: Social Themes and Relationships in Native American Trickster Tales, Franchot Ballinger discusses the evolving definition of a trickster in Native American tales. This essay will examine the character Det. Alonzo Harris, and his relationship with his student Jake Hoyt using the social themes and social relationships identified by Franchot Ballinger in his article, Living Sideways: Social Themes and Social Relationships in Native American Trickster Tale. Ballinger believes that tricksters may be ‘bad’ or ‘good’, and the principle for tricksters is to upset the balance of individual and community needs. In the film Training Day, officer Jake Hoyt can be seen as a trickster character himself, but he is a ‘good’ …show more content…

Alonzo Harris is a character that is naturally rebellious; this can be seen and interpreted in many instances throughout the film. The first instance we see the rebellious nature of Alonzo is when we see his car for the first time. Alonzo’s car is a symbol of his rebellion to the law because he believes he is the law. Ballinger says; a trickster figure deserves the ridicule heaped on him. In this sense the trickster is a negative example of what can go wrong the greater society when the individual lives as a society of one. In the case of Alonzo Harris, he lives as a solitary individual with no friends, only acquaintances and job required colleagues. We see this in the film when Alonzo organizes the raid on Robert’s house where he says, ‘this is just business,’ and kills Robert. As a trickster figure, Alonzo continually threatens social order doing the exact opposite of what his job title entails him to do. He is the creative breaker of taboos, as Ballinger describes a trickster he notes that trickster’s are deceptive and chaotic (Ballinger, 1989). Throughout the film we continually see the deception and manipulation Alonzo uses to create chaos; deceiving Hoyt by paying the essay’s at Hillside to kill him, deceiving Hoyt into doing the raid, and deceiving Robert for his money. In all these instances Alonzo masks his true intentions through his authority, that he is …show more content…

Furthermore, Ballinger states that a Trickster character is driven by his appetites for social status that individual power would give him (Ballinger, 1989). This can be identified in Training Day through the character Alonzo Harris and his origins. As Smiley, Hoyt and the two other essays from Hillside are talking around the poker table, Smiley tells Hoyt the story of why Alonzo is in need of so much money describing to the audience the egocentric nature of Alonzo Harris. He killed a Russian mafia member, unknowingly, but he did so to assert him as the one in charge and establish his social status in Las Vegas. In this moment around the poker table Alonzo is being ridiculed buy the essays from Hillside, this ridicule towards Alonzo is also observed from the people of the subdivision block where his ‘side piece’ and son live. Ballinger states, “trickster is ridiculed for his presumption to social status through magic power,’ in regard to the film ‘social status’ can be seen as authority of the hood, and ‘magic power’ is his badge which gives him

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