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Analysis of I'm not the Indian You Had in Mind by Thomas King

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Analysis Of I’m Not The Indian You Had in Mind By Thomas King

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The mood of the poem “I’m not the Indian you had in mind” is filled with sincerity, wisdom, and emotion towards a certain group, such as native Americans in this poem. It uses an informative tone with an addition of many literature devices to convey the message of sincerity.

Devices such as rhetorical question, such as in the line, “who told the truth, who told the lie” makes us think deep and sincerely into the reader’s heart. To add on, since Sincerity is a mix of seriousness and honesty, and people who show sincerity are being serious, kind, and truthful, which are qualities that the native culture truly believe in. This results in the poem having many examples of lines that show their real ways, and how in fact that the stereotypes placed can also connect with modern society today.

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Imagery is a massive way to convey the author’s message in the poem, “remember how we forgot”. People have an image of what first nations are supposed to act and look like, and this poem explains that society’s perception is guided by images in films and other media of “Indians”, Although some of those images are mixed between positive and negative, they are stereotypes. First Nations people explain, live like everyone else, and use imagery to say that they’re your neighbors, your bus drivers, your shopkeepers. But First Nations people have to live in the way that is provided to them from decisions made by the earliest settlers. Therefore to contradict the typical “Indian” stereotypes, the author uses lines that will make the audience use their senses to understand how natives are really like. For example, “That other Indian, the one who runs the local bar, the CEO, the movie star, the elder with her bingo tales, the activist alone in jail….., the boys who sing around the drum,” etc. The poem also mentions how they have thoughts and feelings like the rest of humanity, and that “wisdom is on his face, compassion sparkling in his eyes,” etc.

King writes the poem, “I’m not the Indian you had in mind” to bring out the moral that Identity is not based on stereotypes, and that they are people that have thoughts and feelings like us, and work just like us, as doctors, as a CEO, as a movie star, and could possibly have problems just like us, being homeless and getting incarcerated. The point that the author wants to make with regards to identity is that stereotypes prevent people from recognizing that diversity exists amongst indigenous people in Canada.

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