Monday, December 13, 2010

My Father's Song Critical Analysis

            The poem My Father’s Song, written by Simon J. Ortiz shows us a glimpse of a world far from that of our own. With Ortiz being raised an Acoma Indian many of his poems are based upon the spoken traditions and pieces of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. At first glance the poem appears to be a simple one of a life experience between a boy and his father. Its format and wording as well as use of repetition give it a sense of simplicity as well as its lack of a complex idea. However this is just the surface of the poem. Many critical articles of the poem My Father’s Song explain it in a few steps.
            First of you take a look at the title. “My Father’s Song” what does the title have to do with the poem. The poem is not about a song in the traditional sense of the word but more about the song of life. The word song is used to mean actions or a way of operating. His father’s song in the poem is his knowledge of the corn field and the care of all life. His actions are a song. My Father’s Song also focuses on a main point in many Indian cultures, the value of all living things and the idea of responsibility and growing up. I felt that the poem was used to explain a lesson between a boy and his father. The father is teaching the boy how to grow up. With the experience of planting corn in the fields show a sense of survival. A man must know how to plant food to be able to eat. The poem also shows a value of life. How a man must know and respect life of those around him both man and animal. This is shown with the mice, and how the father is careful with the small mice as he moves them to a safer and more suiting place to stay alive. And finally the context “And my father saying things” shows to me how is father is talking to him telling him things that he will need to know as a man on his own. With oral tradition having such a high importance in Indian culture it is understandable for an Indian raised poet like Ortiz to take these oral traditions and experiences and apply them to his poetry. With a poem such as My Father’s Song it is evident that Ortiz is remembering his father, and this triggers a memory of an important event or lesson he and his father shared. However in the poem the voice of the father is not used exactly it is shown as a “song” in that it is not told through dialogue but through action and experience.  
            The poem My Father’s Song also shows the ties that the Acoma Indians had with the land. With word usage such as; moist sand and soft damp sand it gives the reader an idea of the connection between nature and one who uses and respects nature. The Acoma Indians and Simon J. Ortiz use oral tradition and poems such as this to share with the rest of the world a view of the life and experience of a Native American Indian. Although a simple poem on the surface, Ortiz is able to pact immense amounts of feeling and tradition into the short poem about his father; in My Father’s Song.