The Medicine Bag Short Story

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Jawaharlal Nehru once said that “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.” This is the case in the story “The Medicine Bag” by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve. When Martin, the protagonist became more and more involved in his culture he learned more about it and he gained more character along his journey. Maria on the other hand had been in touch with her culture for the entirety of the story and had respected the traditions that they had celebrated. Because these two stories had different types of plot structures, they are surrounded by different environments, have different types of relationships with their grandparents, and have differing views on their cultural heritage. The characters Martin and Maria are both surrounded by…show more content…
Maria, who lives with her abuela that influences her, is very confident in her heritage and respects it very much. At the end of the story Maria says that when she “... go(es) into Mr. Golden's class and his eyes ask… (her), who are you today Maria? … (she) will say by the way… (she) walk(s) in, head held high, that… (she is) a poem.” (Cofer 66-68) on the school-wide Who Are You Day. She feels this way because her abuela trusted her with her precious shawl that Maria's great grandmother had made.Along with everything else, Maria embraces her culture and knows that its a part of who she is. Martin, on the other hand, didn't want to connect to his culture at all in the beginning of his story. It was only until when he had heard the story of the Medicine Bag and the great amount of importance that it held in his family that he felt responsible to carry on the legacy. “Two weeks… (after Martins grandpa passed away he) stood… (on) the prairie of the reservation and (he had) put the sacred sage in… (his) medicine bag.” (Sneve 280-282) By the way he describes the sage as “sacred” means that he finally has some respect for his culture. This tells the readers how the two stories are similar but different in many…show more content…
Maria and Martin live in two totally different environments. We can infer that Maria lives in a poor neighborhood with many cultural influences surrounding her while Martin lives in a richer neighborhood with yippy poodles and other fancy dogs. Also, we can see that Maria has a better relationship with her abuela then Martin does with his grandpa. We see this in all the great detail Maria goes into to describe her abuela. Lastly, the two character’s views become more and more similar as the story progresses. This is because for the beginning of the story Martin doesn’t want to participate in his culture but gradually give into it as time moves on. This is the most significant way in which Martin had changed in the story. This really makes a someone think that if Martin had been able to change for the good, then why can’t
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