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  • My Thomas King essay tells about the historical short story A seat in the Garden by Thomas King depicts cultural conflict between Native Americans (and non-native) people. Joe and Red are the main characters of the story. King attempts to explain how the Native Americans and American cultures are at odds. We will be looking at the symbolic features of this short story. This is how characters and images are used to represent something within the society.

    King has used symbolic features in his fiction-short story A Seat in The Garden. One example is that the two main characters in this story are symbolic of the text. King uses Joe and Red as ignorant white men with a negative attitude to Indian cultures. Joe realizes that the Indian man is standing on his land and he cannot bear it any more. King portrays Joe, an ignorant and arrogant character. He demands that the Indian man move out of his land (“Get the hell outta the corn, will you?” (King 238). Joe is the American symbol of individualism. Each person has his/her own property. No one else will be allowed to use the property. King shows America’s arrogance toward other cultures. Joe doesn’t like Indians, so he has hallucinations about a man walking through his cornfields. Red is no different than Joe. He hates Indians as well and this is why he believes that the big Indian man in the middle is real. The two characters see the Indians from a different perspective and feel that they are more righteous then other people. Red and Joe are enthralled by the sight and decide to talk to the police officer about it. He informs them there are no Indians at that location. Joe calls the Indians the “old winos”. King, 1997: 244.

    Red and Joe cannot understand why the big Indian guy stands in the middle, but this is also symbolic. It symbolises the cultural differences. Red and Joe see only the big Indian man’s mouth moving, but they are unable understand what it is saying. They turn to the same people they hate and ask them for help. “Maybe the Indians could translate for them” King 1997: 240 They are stereotypically negative about Indians. When they approach them, they don’t get the full picture. They are not prepared to change the way they see others, especially Indians “They were older that Joe had thought and they didn’t smell as bad, as he had hoped” (King: 241). This is how King illustrates the mistaken perception that White had about Indians. Two characters made a mistake when they arrived at the Indians’ location and found out that they were not drinking beer. The Indians were drinking Lemon Water, which was very different to what Joe and Red believed.

    The Indians signify the socially marginalized and discriminated. King depicts his Indian characters in a despised way by the two white men who consider Indians not worthy of being on their land. Red and Joe decide to assist the despised, even though they can’t send Red out of their farm in times of crisis. The Indians soon realize that the two white men were even more foolish than them. They decide to play their cards and claim that they too can see the big Indian boy. The symbolic act by the two white men to turn to Indians in their search for help is a sign of the despair that these two men have for the big Indian boy. Red and Joe feel helpless that the big Indian guy can’t be sent from Joe’s cornfield farm. They have called police officers, but still have not received the assistance that they require. Therefore they continue to turn to those they detest the most. The Indians realize that the two are foolish and hallucinating and take advantage of this and can talk to the big Indian male whom they refer as a spirit . (King. 1997: 242). Red and Joe discover that the Indian guy wanted a bench constructed in the middle garden.

    The color of the white man symbolizes purity. Joe and Red see themselves as righteous. However, they cannot be compared in any way to drunken or smelly Indians. Red and Joe decide that they can’t drive the Indian guy out of their garden so they call the police. Red is a symbol of impurity compared to the righteousness displayed by white men. Red is a stain of the color white that does not conform to the righteousness.

    The author summarizes the essay on symbolism, Thomas King a seat in he Garden. He has also presented symbolic situations in the a seat in he Garden text. The author uses symbolic elements to show the contradictions between Indian culture and American culture. King has included characters, images and settings to help with the interpretation of the short fiction.

    Source: https://proessays.net/essays/symbolism-in-a-seat-in-the-garden-by-thomas-king

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