The novelette ‘Blackberry Winter’ recounts one eventful day in Seth’s childhood when he was years old. Blackberry winter is referring to a cold weather in June.
The story happens in Tennessee. The story has a backward observation. For example, “But I did follow him, all the years,” (Warren 41), clearly indicates that the narrator is talking about a story that happened 35 years ago.
Heroism is one key aspect that is manifested in the story. The country is witnessing what Seth’s mother refers to as blackberry winter (Warren.26). Although it is unreasonably cold, Seth is setting out barefoot even after being warned by his mother.
However, he manages to sneak out without his mother realizing it. In all his movements, Seth is walking barefoot despite the harsh weather. While Seth is warming himself at the fireplace, he sees a man coming from the wood towards his canon house. From his description, the narrator says that the man was coming through a path that no one passed through, apart from hunters or those who wanted to fish but only with his father’s permission, but the strange man was very brave as to go through the scary path (Warren 26). As the man approached, Bully was ready to send him back but the man was not deterred. This is an aspect of heroism.
The man goes to the extent of scaring the huge dog with a knife (Warren 28). The writer says, ‘pulling his knife against the dog was a funny thing to do’ (Warren 28). As the narrator says, naturally any woman would be afraid to come into contact with such a strange man. Seth says that his mother was very confident and a self reliant person who faced the dirty, scary strange man.
The narrator says that the man’s eyes were bloodshot (Warren 29). When the narrator went to see the flooded creek, he saw a cow jumping over the fence up the creek. Despite the threatening effects of the flood, the cow emerges heroic and as the narrator says, a boy had commented that the cow’s owner would be proud to see it a strong jumper. Jebb is also a symbol of heroism, “….
up in his seventies…… but he was as strong as a bull.” (Warren 37). The narrator says that even after the death of his parents, he still recalls that June day because of the many adventurous moments in that June day.
“Pow Wow Highway”
David Seal’s “Pow Wow Highway” bears various similarities with ‘Patterns of the Hero Journey’ as highlighted by Joseph Campbell. Campbell says that in the departure stage, there is the call to adventure, just as Gary Farmer goes on a sojourn in a bid to find his medicine. As a result, he is involved in trading marijuana and alcohol as he aspires to acquire the status of a warrior. When Farmer’s estranged sister (Bonnie) get herself arrested in New Mexico, Famer seeks to help her and her two children.
Farmer has to make this necessary journey to New Mexico on a road trip (Seal 56). Along the way, he encounters various twists and turns, and he has to make frequent stops as well. While moving on the Powwow Highway, it finally dawns on Farmer and a friend who is traveling with him that they are now facing the dreams and realities of the present-day United States. Joseph Campbell’ Heroic Journey is a narrative of an individual (The Hero) who aspires to attain great deeds for the benefit of the majority.
Campbell portrays the hero as a seasoned global traveler as a result of the training, advice, and equipment that he provides, and which is a necessity for the journey. Campbell depicts the picture of the hero crossing the threshold by way of moving into a special world from an ordinary world (Campbell 81). The journey by the two characters as depicted in the “PowWow Highway” and the “Heroic Journey” respectively is symbolic of the changing realities in the life and environment that the characters in question are now subjected to. In addition, both characters demonstrate the willingness to do a greater good to others, and this is an act of selflessness.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work (3rd edition). Phil Cousineau, editor. Novato, California: New World Library, 2003. Print.
Seal, David. The PowWow Highway. New York: Penguin Group, 1990. Print. Warren, Robert.
Blackberry Winter: A Story Illustrated by Wightman Williams. Massachusetts: Cummington Press, 1946. Print.