Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chief Joseph - "I Will Fight No More Forever"

Chief Joseph, the leader of his tribe, the Nez Perce, wrote this speech to try to salvage the broken remains of his tribe, and Realism is still a good genre this work can fit in. The simple structure and word choice do not detail what he talks about, but the subject matter itself is able to make this piece have a very powerful message. Chief Joseph is pleading to General Howard for him to end the war that is occuring between their men (Joseph, 533). He has seen too many great men of his tribe fall victim in this battle, and it is sad to him to watch families break up in such a manor over just land (Joseph, 533). This message is slightly diverted in the letter because of its amazingly short length and his frank, simple vocabulary; this shortness is a common theme in Realism because having too much example makes the reader lose interest, and concise words create a better feel for exactly what the author wants to convey. Realism is also prominent in the Hero of the story, Chief Joseph. Just like all the other Heroes of the time period, he is an ordinary man placed in an extraordinary situation - to lead his tribe through such difficulties as the crumble of the tribe (Joseph, 533). Normally, Chief Joseph would have simply been doing his normal, easy duties of being a tribe leader, but this battle with General Howard is making those daily duties quite difficult (Joseph, 533). His urge to cease fighting is heroic in itself because he is willing to sacrifice his land, the land his tribe has owned for decades, for the better of his tribe as a whole. It shows that he is very passionate about his people and cares deeply about them. Speech, just like every work of literature, is very important in "I Will Fight No More Forever," not only because he is clearly not educated extremely well, but because a short, passionate, and direct to the point word choice sounds more professional and effective. Effectiveness is a large piece of Realism because words are just as powerful as actions, and, because of his simplicity in life, the Chief would not be successful by trying to make his writing more interesting by putting eloquent words in his work. Also, the plain simplicity is important in this. Many writers from the Realism time period used such simplicity because they were able to relate their story to the audience they were talking to. If their audience does not understand the big words the author is using, no one will grasp the point of the speech as well as if the speaker were using simple words like those in "I Will Fight No More Forever." Also, Realism is a depiction of the real life, and simplicity is key. The tribe's government is essentially Chief Joseph, so the government has a huge importance in this piece because he is making the final decision on trying to solve this problem peacefully. The human nature is present in that Chief Joseph is attempting to make a deal with General Howard to cut his losses before it elevates too high. And, finally, religion and nature really had no important roles in "I Will Fight No More Forever."

Works Cited

Joseph, Chief. "I Will Fight No More Forever." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 533. Print.

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