The concept of healing is a central and consistent theme in Linda Hogan's book of poetry called The Book of Medicines. Throughout all three sections of the book, the reader is shown the value and process of healing of American Indians and the earth itself, especially concerning the white Europeans takeover of North America. This broad idea is consistent through all three sections of the book: The History of Red, Hunger, and the Book of Medicines. The author's thoughts and beliefs are conveyed in a process of identifying disease and destruction, then analyzing it to show how healing can be and has been accomplished. This entire work is a deep insight to Linda Hogan as an individual and as an American Indian.
The History of Red is the first section in The Book of Medicines. In relation to the theme of healing, this one-poem section identifies the broad problem which calls to be healed. This broad problem is a presence of humans being disrespectful to nature; these are people who live off the land and not in the land. Although not directly said, these people are white Europeans who took this land from the American Indians, ultimately resulting in the creation of the United States of America. Red is this yielding land- turned inside out- by a country of hunters- with iron, flint and fire. Red is the fear- that turns a knife back- against men, holds it at their throats,- and they cannot see the claw on the handle,- the animal hand.
[...] Hogan steadily puts concepts of healing throughout the section Book of Medicines.' This section holds more characters that are living with nature, as opposed to off of nature, and it shows through its stories how the balance exists with these profound perspectives. The issue of impurity, which is raised and analyzed in the first two sections, seems blasphemous compared to the beauty of the earth conveyed in the final section. This culminating message is a representation of Hogan as an individual along with her family and culture. [...]
[...] you can't stop- trading gifts- with the land,- putting your love in the ground so that after the long sleep of seeds- all things will grow- and the plants who climb into this world- will find it green and alive.” Linda Hogan this last stanza to inform the reader that the beauty of the earth has not been killed, and despite the pain humans have brought to this earth they still have the potential to heal it and return it to a pristine state. This statement is incredibly gripping. There is no call for sacrifice, or a payback to earth for the damage done; it is simply a call for change, to trade instead of take. She concludes her book with a reasonable request, not to repent, but simply to respect. The Book of Medicine's by Linda Hogan, is a strong and effective exposition of how human beings have taken from the earth [...]
[...] She truly believes that once the reader understands the issue they will connect with their own truth, which is that body wants to live beyond itself.”(18) At some level, conscious or subconscious, we all want to live in harmony with nature and the earth. This is Hogan explaining why we need healing. Upon exposing why we need to be healed, what the problem is, and the source of that problem, Hogan progresses the focus in the third section to how we can heal. [...]
[...] This section conveys how the disease, of human destruction, is perpetuated, how it has and does create a void in a pure coexistence of man and nature, and how and why we need to overcome it. These ideas, of an impure way of life existing, are presented and explored throughout the section of Hunger. Hogan effectively uses this section as the preliminary healing process, by dissecting the issue and finding where change and improvement are necessary. These ideas are streamed across all the poems, which make up Hunger. [...]
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