When the Ledgends Die Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 824 words and 4 pages.

When the Ledgends Die

A Circular Life(When The Legends Die)

When the Legends Die, by Hal Borland, is a novel in which traces the life of Tom Black
Bull from a young Indian boy to an older, mature adult. Thus meaning When the Legends Die
is a bildungsroman. A bildungsroman is a novel in which the protagonist from beginning to
the end matures, and in a classic bildungsroman, undergoes a spiritual crisis. His life is
filled with many obstacles and affected by many people positively and negatively.
Throughout the story he overcomes these obstacles and lives through the people. His
attitude is affected with the presence of the other characters.

Soon after the death of Tom’s father, George Black Bull, Tom is left to be the man
of the family. Bessie states to Tom after burying his father, “‘Now you are
the man.’”(2 9) That one statement has a lot of meaning. On one hand it means
he has to provide for him and his mom. By hunting for food to help him and his mom stay
alive and survive. Then he has to be able to catch enough to eventually save for winter.
Then, during the winter, his mom dies from sickness. He brings her up to where his father
was buried and buries his mom right next to his father, singing the song for going away.
Bessie was a positive influence to Tom, she had taught him how to live: cook, sing the old
songs, and doing things in the old way. On the other hand she was negative, because
everyone else in the story was starting to live in the new ways and adapting to it, while
she did not even teach Tom anything about the new ways. With the lack of his mother now,
he has no one to live with, care for, except for himself, but without an adult in his
life. But now he is now forced to choose his own choice and learn from them since he has
no one to help him through life. For his mother, was not only his caretaker but also his
teacher and mentor for living in the old ways.

Soon after living alone for a while on the mountain, he is tricked into going to a
reservation school. Then from there, he escapes then returns and ends up being an aid for
a sheepherder. Within a short a period of time, he is taken in the hands of Red Dillon.
Red Dillon is an owner of a kind of farm. As an ex-rodeo rider, he teaches Tom how to ride
broncs. Red Dillon teaches Tom important lessons but attempts to run his life. When Red
Dillon says, “‘ . . . First one is, don’t trust anybody when it comes to
your saddle and gear. Not even me. Check everything yourself before you say you’re
ready . . .’”(125) Those few words by Red taught Tom more than just not to
trust anyone with your gear and deal with bronc riding. But instead do not trust anybody
with anything at all in life. Do everything yourself and do not rely on others to do
things. “‘Second thing you just learned,’ Red said, “is not to
jump somebody bigger than you unless you’ve got an evener . . .take it out on a
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