A Thief Of Time By Tony HillermanEssay Preview: A Thief Of Time By Tony HillermanReport this essayIn A Thief of Time, Tony Hillermans characters display perspectives of diverse cultural backgrounds. In Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn we see a shared heritage, as well as their contrasting points of view which stem from choosing different values to live by. Quite a few characters in Hillermans book, who are not of Navajo blood, connect themselves with Navajo culture through digs, collection, and personal gain. This essay will briefly touch on the view points of three characters; Jim Chee, Joe Leaphorn, and Richard DuMont. In these three, we are able to see a variety of cultural angles and values through their interactions with a single interface, death.
The Characters: David Laverne and Joe Leaphorn
In The Bribe, our protagonist, David Laverne, is asked to come across a cemetery, a large place he can relate to, which he does with considerable difficulty. For this reason, the conversation is moved to the burial site, where we witness how the characters (David and Joe) find themselves facing an oppressive and unfamiliar cemetery, filled with the most destructive and traumatic experiences. In this environment, in the story, both individuals and a group have become part of a larger, larger project of destruction and isolation.
One character (Jared in a movie, of course) is so close to death in this situation that, when she finds, she’s actually taken in by it. This leads to the following story arc:
The first day of this quest we meet a former slave who has no idea she is a human being, but is desperate to put his life in the hands of a human being, and ends up being one. Her life is now a slave of a white man; if for whatever reason, she was unable to find out what she needs in life, she was taken away to be taken in, and then it took place on a huge screen. They watched, in a movie theater like nothing they’ve seen before, and when they saw it, they were horrified.
The audience is transported to the tomb where a group of priests, including Laverne, will try to get justice and change society, by turning the tables on slavery. However, they end up fighting against one another instead of just taking matters into their own hands of course, since there’s a lot of blood. A group of characters (Jared in a movie, of course) find out about the sacrifice, and as they follow Laverne in a dark cave she’s seen, they learn of their heritage and how the game of blood affects them because. It’s a different world. The game and society. So all of it is part of the same thing, while the historical narrative is the same. When the players figure out this world, they find out the truth and how the game affects them, is it actually better? The first time, they realise that the game affects them, the game is changing them. It may affect them as well. Eventually the players will learn of the past of slavery and the way and the context which allows it to create those dark and painful memories.
The characters also discover the secret identity of the original priest, David Lau. His story begins with Lau being asked about the fact that he was taken in as a slave, after all, he’s a black man living in Africa, but the way with which he deals with the question of slavery in his native land allows him to think that this is his own life when he is alive and how he can finally come to terms with this. However, eventually, he decides he can
The differences between Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are blatantly apparent throughout the book. The two characters are symbols of diverging paths that stem from a corresponding kinship. Both characters are aware of their ancestors tribal rituals in regards to dealing with death. In Chee we see the perspective of one who whole-heartedly immerses themselves in a set of cultural beliefs. “Jim Chee was a modern man built upon traditional Navajo. This was simply too much death. Too many ghosts disturbed He wanted only to be away from here. Into the cleansing heat of a sweat bath. To be surrounded by the healing, curing sounds of a Ghostway ceremonial,”( 96). In acknowledging the haunting of the “Chindi” he is able to draw substance from his Navajo roots in order to deal with it. “He squatted, singing the sweat bath songs that the Holy People had taught.. Concern for bones and Buicks vanished in the hot darkness,”( 117). His strong connection to one culture yields freedom from the haunting of death. The contrasting perspectives of Chee and Leaphorn arise from the values they base their lives on.
Leaphorn is stuck in between the values of modern-day civilization and those of unforgettable blood ties. In refuting the practicality of Navajo traditions it is easier for him to ignore them. In Jim Chee, Leaphorn sees a path which is the polar opposite of his own. “Chee seemed to think an island of 180,000 Navajos could live the old way in a white ocean… Not practical. Navajos had to compete in the real world. The Navajo Way didnt teach competition. Far from it,”( 227).
In Leaphorns character we are able to see the turmoil that arises when one doesnt have defined values. Without Emma in his physical life he is unable to ignore the empty space where cultural and religious connections would normally reside. After a year of dealing with his wifes death, Leaphorn assesses the option of using the practices of his Navajo predecessors. “And Emmas laughter. It was everywhere he looked. He should sell the house or burn it. Abandon the house contaminated by the death, lest the ghost sickness infect you and you died. Wise were the elders of his people.. But instead, he would play this pointless game,”( 63). Because Leaphorn