Memories of Childhood Summary in English by Zitkala-Sa, Bama

Memories of Childhood Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. Memories of Childhood is written by Zitkala Sa, Bama.

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Memories of Childhood Summary in English by Zitkala-Sa, Bama

Memories of Childhood by Zitkala Sa, Bama About the Author

Born Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, (Zitkala-Sa) (22 February 1876 – 26 January 1938) was a Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist. She was the co-founder of the National Council of American Indians in 1926. Her articles were published in the ‘Atlantic Monthly’ from 1900 to 1902 and in ‘Harper’s Monthly’. Most of her work is focused on tensions between tradition and assimilation and literature and politics. She was also an active member of the society of ‘American Indians which published the ‘American Indian’ Magazine. She worked for the recognition of native American culture and traditions but at the same time advocated US citizenship rights for American Indians to bring them into the mainstream.

Bama (Born: 1958-) is a Tamil novelist. Her autobiographical novel Karukku (1992) brought her fame. After this she wrote two novels Sangati and Vanmam along with two collections of short stories. Kusumbukkaran and Oru Tattvum Erumaiyum. She was born in a Roman Catholic family in Madras.

Most of her novels focus on caste and gender discrimination and that prevailing in Christians and Hindus. Her works embody the Dalit feminism and celebrate the inner strength of the subaltern woman.

Author Name Zitkala-Sa
Born 22 February 1876, Yankton Reservation, South Dakota, United States
Died 26 January 1938, Washington, D.C., United States
Spouse(s) Raymond Bonnin
Movies and TV shows New England Conservatory of Music (1897–1899), Earlham College (1897)
Nationality American
Zitkala-Sa - memories of childhood summary in english class 12
Zitkala-Sa

Memories of Childhood Theme

‘Memories of Childhood’ depicts the fact that children are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and react very strongly against the discrimination and indignities meted out to them. Zitkala-Sa, representing the Native American woman, condemns the dogma and evil of oppression.

On the other hand, Bama criticises untouchability and caste discrimination. The narrative has a universal theme which highlights the reaction to the hatred and cruelty meted out to the downtrodden and the discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and social hierarchy.

Memories of Childhood Summary in English

The Cutting of My Long Hair

The story begins with the introduction of the Carlisle Indian school. The narrator describes her first day at the school. It was very cold and unpleasant as there was a lot of snow around. The extract deals with the shingling of hair of Zitkala-Sa. Zitkal-Sa found the school a strange place where everything seemed to be mechanical. A very loud and metallic bell rang for breakfast. There was annoying clatter of feet on the entire bare floor. She was unnerved because of so much of noise.

She found all the girls marching to the dining room after hearing the bell. They were supervised by a palefaced woman. Small girls wore aprons, and had shingled hair. The girls were dressed in clinging clothes. Breakfast was served and eaten very mechanically. There was a bell to stand, another to sit, next to pray and after that another to start breakfast. All this was totally new for the narrator.

Her friend Judewin warned her that the palefaced woman was talking about the cutting of her long hair. The narrator did not want her hair to be shingled because in her community, shingling of hair was considered as inauspicious and undignified. Only traitors or the mourners had their hair shingled. Though her friend told her that they would have to submit as others were stronger, the narrator decided to struggle and not to submit. She crept upstairs unnoticed and hid under the bed in a dark corner. But finally, she was discovered and dragged out.

She scratched and kicked but was forcibly taken downstairs and was tied fast to a chair. Her thick braids were cut off. And with this she lost her spirit. She realised the indignities suffered by her after she was separated from her mother. She was tossed here and there like a wooden puppet and felt humiliated. She was treated like an animal and no one came to comfort her.

We Too Are Human Beings

In this story, Bama narrates the experiences of a young dalit school girl in a south Indian village. The narrator had never heard of untouchability being talked about openly by anyone but she felt, experienced and was humiliated by what she saw. While coming back from school, she used to spend a lot of time in watching all the fun and games, entertaining novelties, oddities, shops in bazar on the way. She used to watch performing monkeys, a man pedalling for days, the activities at Maariyaata temple, the statue of Gandhiji, the sweets and snacks, hunter gypsy and wild lemurs in cages. She used to hear the political parties giving speeches, saw the puppet show, street plays, coffee shops, fruit trees and peddlers selling fruits, snacks, halwa and iced lollies.

While on the way, she saw an interesting scene outside the landlord’s house. Here a threshing floor was set up with the landlord watching the proceedings. Some people were driving cattle for threshing the corn. She saw an elder of her community carrying a big packet in a funny manner which made her laugh. He gave this packet which contained vadais to the landlord without touching it and the landlord opened the packet and ate the vadais.

Bama narrates this incident to her brother with all the comic details. But to her surprise her brother is not amused. The narrator is told that the landlord was of upper caste and the elder’s touch would pollute the food. This made the narrator sad and angry and she felt outraged at the exploitation. She condemns it as a curse against humanity. She believed that their community should boycott and refuse to do petty errands. She came to know that despite being so educated, tier brother was questioned about his caste. All the dalits used to live together in a separate place away from the upper class.

Annan, her brother, told the narrator that they were not respected or given dignity due to their community. He said that education was the only way to gain respect. The narrator was advised to work hard and learn. She obeyed her brother and studied hard with great determination. She stood first in her class. Many people tried to befriend her.

Character Sketch of Zitkala-Sa in Memories of Childhood

Zitkala-Sa: Zitkala-Sa was a native American who was sent to the Carlisle Indian school at a young age. She faced indignity, discrimination and exploitation at school. She was forced to get her hair shingled against which she protested to the best of her capacity but finally had to surrender. She was treated like a wooden toy. She is symbolic of all the native American women who were exploited at the hands of their masters. They used to enslave them, plundered them and destroyed their culture. She suffered extreme indignities and felt humiliated. Her long thick braids were cut off which let her spirit down. She was treated like an animal. Despite of all this barbarism, Zitkala-Sa showed her resistance. She didn’t give up meekly and struggled and protested though she didn’t succeed.

Character Sketch of Bama in Memories of Childhood

Bama: Bama is a small innocent school girl from a Dalit community in south India. She is unaware of the discrimination on the basis of caste. She is surprised to see distinction based on class and caste. When she is told by her brother, about the reality, she is angry. She protests against this. She is astonished to realize the fact that the rich and upper caste people have lost all humanity. She felt that they too were human beings. She has a rebellions nature and wants to protest against this evil. Told by her brother that it is only education which can bring change, she determines to choose a constructive path and studies hard and tops the class. In this way, she wins everyone’s respect and becomes a role model for all Dalits.

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