The Perfect Balance
The Perfect Balance Many Aboriginal stories contain important themes. The short stories “Yellow Woman” by Leslie Marmon Silko, “Soul Catcher” by Louis Owens, and “From Love Medicine” by Louise Erdrich all incorporate one theme. The theme in these stories is the tension between myths and reality in a modern day society. The authors placed this theme in their stories to let people know that it is important to find a good balance of personal and cultural beliefs in life.
In “Yellow Woman”, the protagonist questions if the man she meets is a character from a story she heard as a child. Again, in “Soul Catcher”, the boy does not believe the old man when he says that the panther is not a mere animal. In “From Love Medicine”, Lipsha’s attitude toward the “magic” in his life changes throughout the story. This theme of myth versus reality is consistent throughout these stories. The story “Yellow Woman” contains the struggle between myth and reality. The first time we see this in the story is when she denies being who she said she was the day before.
She says, “But I only said that you were him and that I was Yellow Woman – I’m not really her – I have my own name…” The next time that we see her questioning what she already knows is when she is having a conversation with Silva, saying, “I don’t believe it. Those stories couldn’t happen now. ” Though she plainly states that she does not believe these stories, it seems as though this time, she is trying to convince herself as well as him. Later in the story, we see that the Yellow Woman chooses myth over reality when she decides to stay with Silva for a day even though he is not keeping her there.
This is shown in the story when she narrates, “He was gone, and I had my chance to go now…I did not decide to go. ” Though she decided to stay with Silva for an extra day, she ultimately chose reality over the pleasures of a dream world and returned to her family. These are examples of the questioning of myths in society in the story “Yellow Woman”. The story “Soul Catcher” has a few instances in which the theme of myth versus reality is displayed. The first example of this is when we are introduced to the old man and are forming a picture of him.
The narrator states, “All of his life the old man had balanced two realities, two worlds…” These two realities and worlds are myth and reality. The old man, however, does not question one or the other, but rather lives with both harmoniously. The next example of this tension between myth and reality is when the old man describes the panther as nalusachito, the soul-catcher, to the boy. At first, the boy denies it: “‘Nalusachito is just a myth,’ the boy said. ” The next time that there is a tension between the boy’s beliefs of myth and reality, it is inferred by the reader.
After the boy goes out and kills the panther, the story ends with the lines, “…nalusachito crouched, ready to spring. ” One could assume that the boy’s original thought that nalusachito was only a myth and that it could be destroyed like anything else was questioned, if not proven wrong. These are examples of the reoccurring theme of the tension between myth and reality in the story “Soul Catcher. ” The story “From Love Medicine” expresses the theme differently from the other two stories. In “Yellow Woman” and “Soul Catcher” the protagonists turned from their world of reality to consider one of folklore.
In “From Love Medicine”, the protagonist, Lipsha, begins believing the stories and somewhat believing in them less by the end. He believes that he has healing powers to some extent: “The medicine flows out of me. The touch. ” Another example of his belief in the powers is when he makes the love medicine. It was solely his belief in these myths and his “power” that motivated him to make the potion. One example is at the end when he tells his grandmother that magic was not what was keeping his grandfather close.
He says, “Love medicine ain’t what brings him back to you, Grandma…It’s true feeling, not magic. ” This quote shows that there was a struggle between reality and myth in the protagonist and in the end he chose a kind of reality over myth. These are examples of the struggle between myth and reality in the story “From Love Medicine. ” There is a question of the significance of myths in the reality of a modern day society. The theme of these stories addressed the tension that exists between myth and reality.
In “Yellow Woman”, the main character struggles in choosing a world to exist in; the dream world or the real world. The old man and the boy in “Soul Catcher” both try to balance their lives with cultural and personal beliefs. Lipsha in “From Love Medicine” changes in that he starts to believe more in the real world and a little less in his own “powers. ” These examples of struggles are examples for the world to follow. It is each person’s responsibility to find the perfect balance between the real world and fantasy.