Background of the author
This story originates from the Seneca people who dwelled in Iroquois nation which in our modern times is the northern and central New York City in United States of America (Curtin 6). It is difficult to trace the author of this story. Jeremiah Curtin recorded the story in the year 1880. This story is among other several stories collected from the elderly people in the Seneca community in the 1880s. Some of the elderly include George Armstrong, Henry Silverhils, Black chief and chief Priest Henry Stephens.
At the time of its inception, the Seneca tribe was very powerful and was being ruled by a great chief. The story was developed to shed some light on the origin of the Seneca tribe which is affiliated to New York City. This period marked the migration of some sections of the Seneca tribe to Ohio, they migrated to look for better lives and they set up a very strong political system in Ohio which was independent from the original one in New York.
The story was developed in the 1880s by the Seneca people. The setting is in a native and traditional background in the past where there were no signs of modernism. The land is good and the people are indigenous where people interacted well with the environment and took care of it.
This is a creation story explaining the origin of mankind. The story cites that long ago the world was ruled by a great chief who lived near a tall tree which was an epitome of livelihood in the Seneca tribe. The chief had a daughter who unfortunately fell ill to an unknown disease. Great elders in the society dreamed that uprooting the tree could cure the queen but the Seneca people were against the idea because the tree produced corn which people could eat. After several incessant dreams on the subject, the people decided to dig a trench around the tree in order to get the daughter of the chief cured (Curtin 8). The tree suddenly disappeared into an endless hole; the daughter was taken near the tree with hoped that she will regain her health. One of the young men who were standing near the tree got so angry about the destruction of the tree and kicked the daughter into the bottom less pit. The daughter fell into the water. The animals saw the daughter and decide to save her by carrying her in turns to avoid the daughter drowning.
The exercise got so tiresome that the animals decided to look for mud and pile it on the back of a turtle to from an island. Eventually, a big island was formed on the back of the turtle and plants started growing on it. The daughter continued with life and gave birth to a daughter. The daughter was always advice never to face the west because the wind could make her pregnant. The daughter being young and stubborn faced the west and became pregnant and gave birth to two young boys, one through the normal way and the other through the armpit. The mother of the two twins died from the wound of childbirth through the armpit. The two boys divided the island equally among themselves because they were always quarreling (Parker 80). The elder brother created humans beings and gave them life through his breath, the younger disagreeable brother made animals and a giant size mosquitoes.
The younger brother tried unsuccessfully to make human beings but ended up making ugly animals. He vowed to make animals that could kill humans. One day the two brothers decided to visit each other gardens, the bigger brother made the mosquito very small because it disgusted him, the younger brother got angry, distorted some creations of the elder brother and picked up a fight with his brother which ended up with the death of the elder brother (Parker 80). The elder brother died and went to the sky which represents the heavens where the people who live good lives go to, on the other hand, the younger brother remained in the world and continued to spread evil and torment the evil doers in the world.
the destruction of the tree which produced corn for the Seneca people is a turning point and major plot in the story
the falling of the daughter of the chief into a bottom less pit is a facet of the story which forms the way for the inception of the story of creation
The birth of the two brothers who each made some creations forms the climax and colors the intended purpose of the story, the theme and origin of good and evil which is encompassed in the story of creation.
The Great chief- he was the ruler of the Seneca tribe.
The chiefs daughter- a character which gives birth to a lady who gives birth to the two brother who are instrumental in the creation process.
Granddaughter of the great chief- gives birth to two brothers who officiates creation of animals and human beings.
The two brothers- did the creation work.
Tone- the tone of the story happy at the starts but gets somber when the daughter of the chief gets sick and the tree which symbolized life is destroyed.
Symbols- the great tree which produced corn for the people symbolized life in the Seneca tribe.
the big brother is a symbol of God who is the author of good whereas the younger brother who is evil symbolize Satan who is the author of evil
Themes- fighting in the world between good and evil.
Meaning of the title
The title is captivating but it has no hidden meaning.
I thought it was a fairy tale about a grandmother and some two brothers who were adventurous and naughty. One brother was to be good whereas the other was to be bad to teach something about good and evil in the society.
Thoughts after research
The Seneca people are a community like many other communities in the traditional setting who were looking up for their origin.
The authors intention was to explain the origin of the Seneca people and the origin of good and evil in the society.
The story explains the origin of good and evil which is evident and a big problem in many cultures in the world today. The world is so evil; this story sheds some light on the inception of evil into this world.
Questions to the class;
Do you believe that there is a supreme being who is the author of good in the world?
Where do you think is the origin of all the present evils in the world.
Curtin, Jeremiah. Seneca Fiction, Legends, and Myths... Vol. 32. 1918.
Parker, Arthur Caswell. Seneca myths and folk tales. U of Nebraska Press, 1923.
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