Before moving on to the first question, I would like to discuss about "White Man's Burden". White men thought they had a mission to converge all the "savages" to Christian beliefs, and to "civilize" them. As mentioned In another film we watched during the class, Pocahontas, that movie raises question on "who is savage? ". A point would like to focus on before I begin my thoughts on the movie, I would like to view different points of views. The question of "virtuous" comes from what point you look at. Looking at different side, my enemy can become an angel to another person.
The first question, which side is virtuous? Once, a famous comedian, George Carline said in his stand-up comedy show, "we are praying to the god to defeat our enemies, and they are praying to the god to defeat their enemies, so somebody's goanna get bucked, mint it? ". Most people when they see this movie will think how cruel white men are. They ravaged lands that Indians lived in, butchered their buffalos, and killed Indians without questioning their human nature, or what kind of person they are. In the other hand, Indians, to the white man, are Just obstacles In the way to their plan.
People usually call people in their way to the goal, enemies. The question of "who is righteous? " can be vague according to which side of point of view you look from. What was impressive of the movie was the scene of the childhood of Rise with Fist. She was born white, and their parents Just wanted to protect her. However, the Native Americans killed their parents, without questioning, In a brutal manner. Who is evil then? Her parents who failed in the task of protecting her family by threatening 1 OFF perhaps what the director wanted to show was the brutality of human being itself.
I see form of art as "expression of human being". Human being itself is so complex, that there are so many different types of people, characteristics, culture, and modes of behavior. I think what the director wanted to show was, how people think other people are identical to them. If they do not find similarity between them, they turn into hostile behaviors. Sioux did, at the first time with John Dunbar. So as John Dunbar, did not trust in them when they kept on trying to steal his horse. To Sioux, both white man and Pawned tribe are the same.
They are both hazardous people who want them dead. To white Americans at the end of the movie, both Pawned, Sioux, are all the same. They are Just an obstacle to their moving frontier. When taken into more personal name, it makes us realize, disregarding what tribe we are from, we are all same. We laugh when it's fun; we cry to the death of close one, we feel friendship and comradeship when fighting shoulder to shoulder against creeping death. However, we can never deny what we come from. Perhaps this is why the resonating echo of Wind in his Hair sounded so sad.
Dances With Wolves, I am Wind in His Hair. Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend? " Without answering to his roar, Dance With Wolves, or John Dunbar rides away to the piled snowy mountain. What this implies, no matter where we come from, we can be friends, but at the same time, it is so hard to stray apart from what you really are. The second point which I found interesting relates more to my personal experiences. I moved abroad when I was 10 years old. It is an age hard to tell who really I am.
I was arced into different culture when I was at school, and I was forced to Korean culture when I came home, back from the school. It is hard to deny what we are used to. The concept is so different, starting from living, eating, greeting, to the way of funeral. John Dunbar, when he was caught by his fellow soldiers towards the end of the movie, denied himself of being John Dunbar, declaring himself as "l am Dance With Wolves". He totally seemed to become part of Sioux tribe. However, what was ironic was that the reason he went back to the camp at the first place was to find his urinal.
Was Journal so important? Especially thinking about Indian culture where they don't have the concept of individual ownership? Furthermore, if John Dunbar decided to live with their tribe for the rest of his life, what importance of meaning that Journal could possibly hold? I think this part of irony shows how hard it is to forget your own culture. This also relates to the conclusion of the first point of this essay. I spent most of my adolescent overseas. When I had about 17 to 18 years, I too was confused who I was. Am I Korean? Or am I biologically Korean with American Houghton?
I still today, don't think myself as I am one-hundred percent Korean. John Dunbar probably had the same kind of confusion. After his attempt of killing himself, decision of Journey to find himself. He thought he had become part of the Sioux. He learned their language, became friend with them. He hated how white people acted in the war, and he was tired of it. That's why he decided to head west. However, indeed, he never became a true Indian, and he did not wanted to be a regular white man neither; the clash of his two identities must have been very hard on him.
It was very interesting in the film how his agony of two clashing identity had effect on John Dunbar. I looked at the film on two different but similar topics: nature of human being and individual's thought of his identity. I think, every human is same, but different. We all dream, and we all have different identity. Identity can be a key factor what describes oneself. John Dunbar identity is John Dunbar, Lieutenant of The United States' Union Army. He is an officer and the officer in charge of Fort Sedgwick. His identity is Dance With Wolves.
He is a husband of Rise With Fist, and a part of Sioux member. He fought against Pawned to defend his tribe. He is an excellent marksman. He used his gun to save a Sioux girl's life from buffalo. He has a Sioux wife. Her name is Rise With Fist, blessed with a name Christine on her birth. Despite the fact that they were brought up in different culture, and different background, they became friends, enemies, husbands and wives. However, they did not truly become one. Which is I thought of as ironic message of the film. The United States is known to be a culture of "Melting Pot".
However, Native Americans are not part of this melting pot. The United States is also sarcastically said to be a "salad bowl of different ethnicities". In the melting pot, all ingredients melt into one singular identity. However in a salad bowl, even though they are mixed together, each ingredient remains their identity. This might be the message what the director of the film Dances With Wolves wanted to say. Not sad, not frightening, nor ugly, Just a self-portrait of the world we live in, a world where we are so close but so far away from each other.