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Native American Literature

The Soft-Hearted Sioux & The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky

Both The Soft-Hearted Sioux by Zitkala-Sa and The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane are episodic in structure. In The Soft-Hearted Sioux we are given the firsthand account of a Sioux who becomes Americanized and Christian through missionary teachings. When he returns to his native people and culture, he is rejected because his new learning makes him foreign and impractical to the natives and their way of life. He cannot hunt buffalo or deer and he is not a warrior, so as a male Sioux he is viewed as pretty much useless, not to mention bringing back to them an ideology of a people who would ultimately rob them of their lands and decimate their culture. In the end, the narrator reverts to his instincts and Sioux nature; killing a buffalo and murdering a white man who tries to take it from him. These efforts, all in vain to reconcile him with his culture or father, makes the narrator, sentenced to death, as torn in faith about the nature of the afterlife as in life he was torn between two cultures and faiths, “Yet I wonder who shall come to welcome me in the realm of strange sight. Will the loving Jesus grant me pardon and give my soul a soothing sleep? or will my warrior father greet me and receive me as his son? Will my spirit fly upward to heaven? or shall I sink into the bottomless pit, an outcast from a God of infinite love?” (Zitkala-Sa 6).

The episodic nature of The Soft-Hearted Sioux is designed to show us the character development of the narrator. From the beginning of the story through to its end, the narrator will be on a yearning quest to find self-satisfaction and authentic belonging with the external environment. In episode I, we see the narrator as a young boy of sixteen. He is, in turns, told about the elements of life that will bring him such self-satisfaction and authentic genuine belonging. His grandmother tells him that he needs to m...

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Native American Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:11, April 21, 2019, from