The novel When the Legends Die, by Hal Borland shows the truth behind change. The novel encompassed the many changes which Tom experienced through out his life in a manner fairly similar to that which may be experienced in real life. On my part I know that this is true because I have seen these changes take place. The main character, Tom, really represents myself in a way. We both had to change from the old ways which we were accustomed, to the new ways which we were not. Although the times and situations may be different, the concept of change remains the same.
Tom had to give up his traditional Ute ways and had to learn the new ways of the white heritage school. In the beginning Tom’s traditional heritage is seen through the aspects of his life. Native American have a great respect for nature, and Tom shows this by self proclaiming himself Bears Brother. Tom respected the animals around him, especially the bear cub. He sang traditional songs which had a somewhat spiritual meaning to him as well as fellow tribe members. Tom also lived a very traditional Ute life. He wore the leggings, clout, and moccasins which were the standards in Ute clothing. All in all he lived the life that his ancestors had lived for many generations before him and was happy in that way of life. unfortunately that happiness would be short lived. Tom was forced into a school which stripped Native Americans of their culture and in essence their pride. At this school Tom is forced to cut his hair and to leave behind his native clothes. In essence he is forced to be white. He is also given the name Thomas Blackbull, to replace his previous title as Bears Brother. Through out the novel Tom’s name changes, showing a continuing feeling of confusion and the struggle to fit into a world were he doesn’t feel he belongs. Tom eventually meets a man named Red who convinces him to join the rodeo circuit. Tom begins his most downward spiral at this point in his life. He loses respect for the animals which he had once held as sacred and goes against his belief of upholding laws and rules. He punishes the horses and violates the rules of the rodeo. His name changes once again to Tom Black. It is at this point when he loses all sense of who he really is. He lashes out at the one person who attempts to help him, Mary, and relinquishes a underhanded friendship with Red. This show that change, even though sometimes necessary, is not always the best thing.
When leaving middle school and entering into high school, I had to make many changes and sacrifices to fit in. My home life was relitivly a good one. We talked about everything and actually did things together as a family. We had some problematic times but what family doesn’t. My social life was also a very good situation. I had many friends, most of which I had known for a long time, we had common interests and lived in the same relative area. We would hang out after school and talk or do other social type activities which children do. I attended school regularity and received good grades. I put forth effort and actually tried to keep myself in a place were I wanted to be mentally and scholastically. As time progressed change took its course. I began to rebel against what I had known for the benefit of fitting in. This affected not only myself but basically everything else which I was attached to as well. My home life began to deteriorate and become a very tense situation. No longer could we talk to each other because we no longer understood each other. As for my social life, the good and bad aspects kind of equal out. I now have fewer friend but we are closer to each other. I went from having a lot of friend that I knew a little about, to having a few friend that I know almost everything about and in my opinion that is a much better situation anyway.