The Education of Little Tree
In ‘The Education of Little Tree,’ Forrest Carter tells the story of a boy named ‘Little Tree,’ by his grandfather starting at the age of five years. Little Tree goes ahead with his grandparents in the mountainside to live with them after his parents have passed away. The book centers on the life of the little boy as he grows in his new life where his grandfather teaches him almost everything he has to know, starting with the ways of the Cherokee community in which he would live, and living freely in the forest with nature surrounding them. The author describes a boy, who lives a free simple life with nature where the hustle and bustle of the society does not carry away his life. Rather, he lives naturally. Many people seek to live such a life, but they are always caught up in their daily life hustles and bustles. The book takes a first person narrator, where Little Tree is the one narrating his life in the Cherokee community.
Stating at the first chapter, the author sets the storyline of the book. He introduces the main character, a five-year-old boy who is going through a moment that would change his life. The story starts as the parents of the boy passes away, which forces him to go live with his grandparents in the mountainside. In the same chapter, the author sets the other theme of the story, racism, where he describes that although his grandfather happened to be a half Cherokee, he was of the Cherokee heritage. The purpose of mentioning their race was to show that racism existed. This is then shown in the bus when the driver shouts at them. The rest of the passengers then laugh when he says the word how. Little Tree does not realizes until later in his life. However, this makes the reader feel a little resentment for the white race. In this chapter, the story is fully developed and Little Tree begins his adaptation process of his new home.
To give the book a great feeling of the kind of life that Little Tree is going to live, the author makes sure to describe every surrounding around the protagonist of the story, especially the part of nature. This starts as they are heading to the cabin after alighting the bus where Little Tree describes everything he sees on the way to give a vivid image of the setting. The author has used very detailed description of everything starting with colors, the setting of the book and sights of the new surrounding our protagonist would live in for the rest of his life. The author ensures that the reader has a very detailed image of the kind of surrounding the protagonist is going to be living his life. Considering all the descriptions, one can realize that the author intends for the reader have a clear imaginative picture of the kid of place that the protagonist will be living in, and the peace offered by nature.
The next chapter centers on describing the relationship of the boy and his grandparents. This is where the theme of learning comes in, where he learns almost everything from his grandfather. More so, in the chapter we are introduced to the love that his grandparents had for him, where it starts with the grandmother making him moccasins, which Little Tree considers very special and wonderful. The next morning he is waiting for his grandfather outside the cabin so they could go on the high trail as he had promised. We see the connection beginning to buildup between the protagonist and the grandparents. More so, learning starts here. When they sit nearby a tree, Little Tree describes that a connection begins to grow between him and his grandfather.
The author deals with the theme of education quite well, showing that education is not only formal but also informal. Throughout his life since he started living with his grandparents, he has been learning. The author shows describes how Little Tree learns about life from his grandparents especially where they go out in the high trail and he learns that one only takes what they need, and learns to choose well. This is the kind of learning that fits him, since he says he does not fit in the boarding school. He wants to live free, and learn freely. From this chapter until the eighteenth, the bond between Little Tree and his grandparent grows stronger. In addition, he becomes quite ardent with the culture and heritage of the Cherokee people and their ways. In addition, he becomes quite imprecise about the white man from hearing stores of his greed and pride.
The author goes ahead to show a strong connection between Little Tree and the nature after he is taken to a boarding school where he clearly knows he does not fit. Even the children in the school do not fit with him. Later, his grandfather and Willow come to his rescue and take him back home. Everything is happy to see him back, including the hounds that welcome him back home. These is a happy moment in the story, that illustrates the strong connection between Little Tree and his grandparents, who are now his family as well as the nature surrounding including pets.
The book is quite good in engaging the reader through description of every moment, making it look real to the reader through imagination. What make the book more interesting are the many vicissitudes in the story, which are quite touching as well. In addition, to fit the title to the book, Little Tree is always learning in every situation of his life. As he learns, there is a lesson at every part of the book for the reader concerning a free life in touch with nature. The book takes the reader through the ways of a culture that is so distinct form others, living in love with nature and loving everything around them indiscriminately. Through reading the book, one learns almost all the ways of the Cherokee community when they still lived in their natural habitat. The book takes one through an emotional description of a life of a young boy who has to live his life as he wished. It also gives quite an understanding of other cultures.
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