Symbolism In Conquest Of The Thunderbird

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Where Jacobson works with animalistic symbolism, Morrisseau expresses the Ojibway worldview within his work through the use of narratives. Morrisseau’s grandfather Potan was known as a Midewinini and Jissakan, a shaking tent seer, and was well versed in the traditional stories and teachings of his people. One aspect of the Ojibway world view is the importance of narrative, which was told by the elders of the community. These narratives “were instrumental in teaching about history and morality. The Ojibwa narratives were used to pass on knowledge,” (Wobodistch, 15) This oral tradition that was meant to carry on the wisdom of one generation to the next. The narratives “were also intended to be entertaining so that the audience, which was supposed to benefit from the wisdom of the narratives, would not lose interest.” (Wobodistch, 16) This importance of the concept of narratives is seen within Conquest of the Thunderbird. Usually within narratives “various natural entities appear to the Ojibwa in different forms.” (Wobodistch, 20) The forms of these beings were and not limited to “animals, such as fish, bears, and so on. Not only animals, but also other beings such as trees, rivers, and even manitous (Ojibwa for “spirits”),” (Wobodistch, 20) In the Conquest of the Thunderbird the viewer is exposed to what appears to be a scene within a story. A giant thunderbird is struggling against, perhaps battling a giant serpent, as smaller infant thunderbirds rest on top of adult one’s

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