I Heard the Owl Call My Name - Margaret Craven referat

I Heard the Owl Call My Name


Margaret Craven

__________ ______ ____ _____ _______ ______ _______

Mark Brian does not know when he takes his first assignment as a vicar that it will be his last. Being only twenty-seven years old, he never stops to consider his own mortality. He plans for the future, yet he has only two years to live. He has so much to learn about life and so little time in which to learn it. So the Bishop sends him to be a vicar at an Kwakiutl - Indian village near Kingcome Inlet. This inlet is located in British Columbia, a beautiful Canadian Province in the far northwestern part of North America.

When Mark arrives, he thinks the villagers, who are his congregation, all look alike. He believes they lead a simple life and are generally ignorant about the ways of the world. Mark grows to love the people, and they grow to love him. He sees that the Indians are not at all the same, that each is unique. He realises that the Indians` lifestyles, which he thought were so simplistic, are really very complex. Mark does everything he can to help and comfort the people. They, in turn, teach him the meaning of life.

On the second day after his arrival in the village, Mark comes to know the rules, which the Indians of the village have to follow. For instance they aren't allowed to bury the dead body of a little Indian boy until the RCMP officer hasn't observed it to permit the funeral, although the boy died ten days ago in an accident and all the time has lain out in a hut. Finally the RCMP constable arrives and doesn't apologise for coming so late but complains of the fact, that the dead body was brought into the village despite the rule that 'in an accident the body mustn't be moved'. After the constable has departed the Indians and their new vicar bury the young boy. By this way Mark is told that in the old days each family had its own grave tree, on which the boxes were hoisted by ropes and tied one above another in the tops. As he notices at the burial ground many of them have fallen and so also have the grave sheds that were built later and most of the old carvings. Months later the vicar would help the Indians to give the bones of their ancestors a last place of rest at a new burial ground.

The first time in the village Mark is very lonely because the Indians certainly are very polite but held a distance to the newcomer. But during the following months the people of the village come to know their vicar better than he knows himself and they respect and like him of his own. A deep friendship develops between the young vicar and Jim Wallace, a young Indian, who navigates the float at the different trips of the vicar, for instance to extended Indian families, other tribes or to Alert Bay, where he once meets his twin sister and notices that he has become estranged from his white friends. Jim also learns him to steer a boat or a float. Already at his first meetings with the Kwakiutl Indians Mark notices the deep sadness not only in Jim's eyes but also in the eyes of the other Indians. First he has no explain for it but with the time he begins to understand. He learns what the Bishop meant when he said that

'The Indian knows his village and feels for his village as no white man for his country, his town, or even for his own bit of land. His village is not the strip of land.The myths are the village and the winds and the rains. The river is the village, and the black and white killer whales.The village is the salmon who comes up the river to spawn, the seal who follows the salmon., the bluejay.The village is the talking bird, the owl, who calls the name of the man who is going to die, and the silver-tipped grizzly who ambles into the village.The fifty-foot totem by the church is the village, and the Cedar-man who stands at the bottom holding up the eagle, the wolf and the raven!' (p.19)

The Indians fear that their village will go, because when the young leave, the world takes them and damages them. They no longer listen when the elders speak. So do the young Indians who have to go to the church residential school in Alert Bay and are allowed to visit their families at Christmas. They only speak English and forget the words of Kwakwala and the customs of their families. They do not remember the myths and the meaning of the totems and emulate the Whites. After school the young Indians often decide to live in the world of the Whites and fail there. So does Keetah´s sister who falls in love with a white man and wants to marry and live with him. But this man only wants to make money, deprives her bride's family of the unaffordable giant mask and leaves Keetah´s sister in a cruel world which she doesn't know and which kills her.

Keetah, a young pretty Indian woman, also decides to go with Gordon, an Indian boy who wants to become the first university - student of the tribe, in the world of the Whites. But she can't stand it and timely comes back to her loved Kingcome village. There she marries Jim, who don't care about her pregnancy of Gordon.

When the Indians since August are allowed to buy liquor they spend thousands of Dollars in alcohol at Alert Bay and several gamble their boats. Mark and the Bishop pursue these trends with anxiety but can't do anything against them and so the liquor problem increases.

Being a vicar in the Indian village is very hard for Mark, although it is instructive, and he hardly ever has time for himself. After a cruel winter Mark feels tired, but not due to the winter, but to his near death.

Also Marta, one of the old women of the tribe who cares for the others and especially for the vicar, notices the pale face of Mark.

' Under a green spruce Marta stood by herself, her eyes on the young vicar. How thin and white he was! How long had it been there - that look on his face she had seen many times in her long life and knew well? It was not the hard winter that had placed it there. It was death reaching out his hand, touching the face gently, even before the owl had called the name. ' (p.141)

About her observation Marta writes a letter to the Bishop. He decides that Marks work in the village is almost done and tells the vicar that he would seek a replacement for Mark. After the meeting with the Bishop Mark thinks about his life with the Indians.

'And what had he learned? Surely not the truth of the Indian. There was no one truth. He had learned a little of the truth of one tribe in one village. He had seen the sadness, the richness, the tragic poignancy of a way of life that each year, bit by bit, slipped beyond memory and was gone. For a time he had been part of it, one of the small unknown men who take their stand in some remote place, and fight out their battle in a quiet way.' (p.145)

Mark does not know how he could tell the Indians of his soon leave and how he could face the pity that would come to the sad eyes.

' I have come to speak for my people, Mark. There is something we wish you to do for us.'

'But of course, Keetah. Anything I am able to do, I will do gladly.'

'Stay with us, Marta has told us. We have written the Bishop and asked that he let you remain here to the end, because this is your village and we are your family. You are the swimmer who came to us from the great sea,' and he put his arms around her and held her close, finding no words to say thank you for the sudden, unexpected gift of peace which they had offered him in their quiet, perceptive way (p151).

Because they have received the message that a young logger, who has drunk to much, has stolen a small motor boat and despite gale warnings and predictions of a storm was gone on a trip with it, in the late afternoon of this day Mark goes downriver together with Jim to look for the logger. After two hours they receive word by the radio-telephone that the young drunken man has been found peacefully sleeping it off not three miles from the float store from which he has started. On their way back to the village the storm starts and suddenly a lightning strike a tree at the top of the inlet forty yards ahead of the boat and high above them. It falls on the float. The men in the village heard the terrible noise and come on the place of the accident. They only can save Jim alive but the young vicar is dead.

Copyright © Contact | Trimite referat

Ultimele referate adaugate
Mihai Beniuc
   - Mihai beniuc - „poezii"
Mihai Eminescu Mihai Eminescu
   - Mihai eminescu - student la berlin
Mircea Eliade Mircea Eliade
   - Mircea Eliade - Mioara Nazdravana (mioriţa)
Vasile Alecsandri Vasile Alecsandri
   - Chirita in provintie de Vasile Alecsandri -expunerea subiectului
Emil Girlenu Emil Girlenu
   - Dragoste de viata de Jack London
Ion Luca Caragiale Ion Luca Caragiale
   - Triumful talentului… (reproducere) de Ion Luca Caragiale
Mircea Eliade Mircea Eliade
   - Fantasticul in proza lui Mircea Eliade - La tiganci
Mihai Eminescu Mihai Eminescu
   - „Personalitate creatoare” si „figura a spiritului creator” eminescian
George Calinescu George Calinescu
   - Enigma Otiliei de George Calinescu - geneza, subiectul si tema romanului
Liviu Rebreanu Liviu Rebreanu
   - Arta literara in romanul Ion, - Liviu Rebreanu

Scriitori romani