‘Blue Winds Dancing’ Central Ideas and Symbolism

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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‘Blue Winds Dancing’ Central Ideas and Symbolism

This essay will explore the central ideas and symbolism in the short story “Blue Winds Dancing” by Thomas S. Whitecloud. It will discuss themes of identity, cultural conflict, and the protagonist’s struggle between two worlds. The piece will analyze the symbolism of the “blue winds dancing” and how it represents the protagonist’s connection to his Native American heritage. At PapersOwl, you’ll also come across free essay samples that pertain to Fiction.

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Parallel Struggles in Different Contexts

“Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison and “Blue Winds Dancing” by Thomas S. Whitecloud are two fictional short stories that capture the struggles of two young men to exist in old but modern America through similar yet very different experiences. The narrator in “Battle Royal” is an African American male who struggles to fit into the white society and is faced with conflicts that eventually lead to his self-realization.

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On the other hand, the narrator in “Blue Winds Dancing” has been assimilated into the American culture and is lost, having to return home to come to his self-realization. The two stories contain two important elements: themes and symbols. They are important to the stories because they represent ideas and powerful qualities that add meaning and base to the stories. The situations of both characters in the stories depict the human condition because they are controlled by the standards that make up their environment. And it’s up to them to find themselves again.

Themes and Their Significance

“Blue Winds Dancing” and “Battle Royal” are both driven by themes and symbols. In “Battle Royal,” the narrator of this story, an educated African American male, is advised by his grandfather to assimilate into the American culture; he faces struggles and humiliation to fit into the society. In the process of trying to assimilate, he struggles with his self-identity and questions his beliefs. In “Blue Winds Dancing,” the narrator of the story is an educated Native American male assimilated by the American culture and lives in a community that’s predominately white. He struggles with his self-identity and beliefs along with coping with the whites. His experiences create internal and external conflicts for him, which cultivates his growth towards the end of the story.

The theme of the short stories is the major idea proven by the story, and it’s implied throughout the stories in very similar ways. In “Battle Royal,” the narrator strives to come to a conclusion within himself about his self-conception, but he finds his efforts even more complex being a black male living in a racist society. When he attempts to distinguish himself, he finds out that, in his case, the prescribed role for African Americans limits his individualism and forces him to conform to the society around him. “And besides, I suspected that fighting a battle royal might detract from the dignity of my speech.” The narrator finds himself torn between standing for what he believes in and doing what is required of him by the white men. He chose to do what was required of him. He came to his self-realization when he had a dream in which he saw a note that read, “Keep This Nigga Boy Running.” The note helped him conclude that he was only taken as a joke and would never be a part of them. And every question he had has the answers within himself. 

Symbols Adding Depth and Meaning

There are various symbols in the stories that help to give them more meaning. The two most important symbols in “Battle Royal” are the narrator and the speech. The narrator symbolizes the adversity endured by African-American people in their fight for equality in society. He sustains a lot of pain and suffering in order to deliver his speech to prove himself to the white men. This translates to what African Americans face to prove themselves in society, leading to uncertainty within themselves, trying to choose whether to stand for what they believe in or to blend in with everybody else. Secondly, the symbolism of his speech ties in with the theme of self-identity in a way that shows how blacks are constantly trying to prove their worth in this society; they must work twice as hard to get half of what the whites have. The narrator was humiliated and embarrassed before getting the chance to speak, but the white men didn’t listen until he mentioned social equality. They were shocked that he mentioned social equality, and he had to be reminded by the superintendent about “knowing how to stay in his place.” Again, this reinforces the theme of self-identity, not knowing whether to play along with the white men or to stand with what you believe in.

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'Blue Winds Dancing' Central Ideas and Symbolism. (2023, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/blue-winds-dancing-central-ideas-and-symbolism/