Soft Hearted Sioux

948 Words4 Pages
In Zitkala Sa’s short story The Soft-Hearted Sioux a Native American boy goes to a mission school that teaches him that killing anything is wrong. His father is sick and unable to hunt, and he did not kill until it is too late. The young man is born and raised Native American but, is taught Christianity in school which made him a social outcast to both his people and their ways of life. Zitkala story The Soft-Hearted Sioux, portrays that the boy is torn between two faiths. The conflict with his father’s believes and what he is taught in school leads to horrible decisions. These choices cause him to go against both.
The beliefs of the Native Americans exhibit why the schoolboy is called soft-hearted. Native Americans believe that killing
…show more content…
The mission school teaches the young man that killing was wrong. He falsely interpreted killing as do not kill anything including animals. In Christianity, nothing is wrong with killing animals. If you do it to fit your needs as in food, clothing, and shelter, you will be following by the rules. The young man claims “At the mission school I learned it was wrong to kill. Nine winters I hunted for the soft heart of Christ, and prayed for the huntsmen who chased the buffalo on the plains (1847).” The boy completely strays away from the culture he is born with, into the new idealism that’s spreading across the country. Instead of hunting for his family, while showing his bravery, he stays home and searches for what the mission schools taught in the 1800’s, salvation from the “savage” Native Americans culture. Yes, the boy is Native American but, the mission school slowly conforms him into the American man. The boy testifies that “With the white man's Bible in my hand, and the white man's tender heart in my breast, I returned to my own people. Wearing a foreigner's dress, I walked, a stranger, into my father's village (1847).” The modifications the boy is going through because of the mission school makes him lose his culture, and try to convert other people from his tribe to change their way of life as he is doing. This certainly leads to his father’s death…show more content…
The schoolboy killed the cow and the man, going against the Christian faith, to see his father dead. His return makes him a social outcast to both Christianity and Sioux Indians after making those awful decisions. Lonely due to the soft-hearted nature of not killing, and the knife, dripping blood, tainted his soul. The young man continues to say, “Out into the open I started, but the snow at my feet became bloody (1850).” Free, untamed by the white man, and brave is the Sioux Indian he starts in the open or before the mission school. The bloody snow is his change into a Christian man with a soul tainted with murder, who let his father die because of his new soft-hearted beliefs compared to the beliefs of the Native Americans. He ponders to himself “Yet I wonder who shall come to welcome me in the realm of strange sight...Will my spirit fly upward to a happy heaven? or shall I sink into the bottomless pit, an outcast from a God of infinite love (1850)?” His thought process leads him to turn himself in because he fails both faiths and now questions which were right or if they are both wrong; however, he chooses to accept his execution and see what journey he will be on after his

More about Soft Hearted Sioux

Get Access