Animal Symbolism, And Native American Totems In Literature

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"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." (Anatole France) Animals are an important aspect of human life. Whether it be for food or for companionship, animals have been a part of human society since the beginnings of civilization. They connect us to nature in both physical and spiritual aspects of life, and their actions influence the actions of humans. Although they seem mindless, animals in literature are important for strengthening one’s morality because of what they symbolize. All animals are symbols for different human traits and emotions, what they symbolize is derived from Native American Totems. “A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual.” (Anderson) Each animal, or spirit guide, enter and exit lives depending on the direction that humans are headed and the tasks that need to be completed along the journey of life. Native beliefs further explain that a totem animal is one that is with oneself for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Though people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetimes, it is this one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit. The Native American Totems, along with other cultural teachings, are what influenced many authors to write about animal symbolism. Prior to written languages, ancient peoples told animal stories by drawing symbolic visual narratives on the walls of their cave homes. These early

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