Sing down the Moon is a fictionalized retelling the a little-known and shameful part of American history. Said in the an initial person with the character of glowing Morning, a Navaho girl ~ above the verge the adulthood, the novel relates the crushing the the heart of the Navaho world at the...

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Sing under the Moon is a fictionalized retelling that a little-known and also shameful component of American history. Said in the an initial person with the character of shining Morning, a Navaho girl ~ above the verge of adulthood, the novel relates the crushing of the spirit of the Navaho human being at the hand of white people. The Navahos had been resolved for generations in Canyon de Chelly in what is currently northeastern Arizona. There they raised corn, melons, and peaches and herded sheep. This life ended in 1864, when the U.S. Army ordered them off their land, melted their crops, and also chopped under their trees. The Navahos to be marched on a 3 hundred-mile trek to fort Sumner in brand-new Mexico. This compelled migration, known as the lengthy Walk, brought death to the weakest and broke the soul of also the strongest. Nevertheless, the Navahos survived.

Scott O’Dell’s novel revolves around two major disruptions in shining Morning’s happy existence in the canyon occupied by her tribe. The an initial trauma occurs together she herds lamb in one isolated mountain pasture with two friends, running Bird and also White Deer. They room teasing her about Tall Boy, she future husband, as soon as they room surprised by 2 Spaniards. The guys are slavers that kidnap glowing Morning and Running Bird, take them to a remote town, and sell them as residential workers come the wives of the soldiers stationed there. Glowing Morning and also her friend space able come escape through the aid of Nehana, a member of the Nez Percé people who, having actually attempted escape as soon as before, is much more knowledgeable around their captors’ habits. As the three girls are about to be recaptured by the follow Spaniards, high Boy and also two that his friends come to their rescue. Tall boy kills the leader the the Spaniards and also is shoot in the back by one of the others. The young Navahos return to their village, but Tall Boy has actually lost the use of his best arm because of his injury.

A bridge between the two significant parts the the novel is bright Morning’s womanhood ceremony. For 4 days, she is maintained busy, taking orders from the numerous relatives and also friends who have actually gathered at her parent’s hogan for the event.

The second major event that the novel occurs through the evacuation orders from the Army, known as the “Long Knives” due to the fact that of the bayonets attached to the rifles that the soldiers carry. The leader of the tribe decide that they do not have actually the stamin to hit the long Knives, for this reason they elect to move all of their civilization to an virtually inaccessible mesa in the high country. From their vantage point, the Navahos watch the soldiers destroy their homes and their food supply. The people is reduced off from food and also water, and the elders decide the they have actually no an option but to surrender when it shows up that the soldiers will certainly not leaving the canyon.

After their surrender, shining Morning and also her people set off on one agonizing compelled march to ft Sumner. When they arrive at their new home, an arid reservation exterior the fort referred to as Bosque Redondo, conditions continue to it is in harsh. Countless other tribes occupy the camp as well, and also not every one of them are friendly. Food is not just scarce but additionally is greatly wheat, a serial to which the Navahos space not accustomed. In spite of these hardships, shining Morning and also Tall Boy room married. Lock are soon separated, however, when Tall boy is imprisoned in the ft after an altercation with a surly Apache.

as soon as Tall young escapes from prison, bright Morning knows that they must leave Bosque Redondo immediately. Escaping in the center of the night, they are able to make it through on the offers that bright Morning has actually been storing for months. In ~ a temporary campsite much off the trail, shining Morning gives birth to your son. In ~ last, they return to Canyon de Chelly, abandoned except for a couple of sheep that had actually been component of bright Morning’s original flock. Castle are prepared to begin again.


Sing down the Moon bring away place largely in Arizona and brand-new Mexico in between 1863 and also 1865. The story begins and also ends in Canyon de Chelly, now a nationwide monument. O"Dell is a mindful historical novelist. In addition to offering his readers the pleasure of adventures set in one more time and place, he provides a glimpse into the life and society of Navahos in the nineteenth-century Southwest. He creates a vivid map out of traditional Navaho life, basing his story the "the lengthy march" on an actual historic event. In 1863 the U.S. Federal government removed every the Navahos indigenous the 4 Comers an ar of the Southwest (where the borders of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and new Mexico every meet) to ft Sumner, south-east of Santa Fe, new Mexico. Colonel Kit Carson led U.S. Mounties troops in destroying Navaho villages and crops and also killing those who withstood the three-hundred-mile walk. Around ten thousand Navahos were removed; about eighty-five hundred reached fort Sumner alive. One more fifteen hundred died during two years of exile. Sing under the Moon records the horror of this lengthy march from a young Navaho woman"s suggest of view.


glowing Morning tells she story in a simple first-person account. O"Dell provides the pattern of exile and also return to express his theme of the connections between loyalty and identity, and to criticize cultures that damages these connections by tearing human being away native one another and from their homes. When Bright Morning is thrust right into white culture, she often reflects on exactly how it differs from her own culture, a machine that permits O"Dell come unobtrusively insert many revealing details around Navaho life. The wistful yet dignified tone of glowing Morning"s narrative as she recalls her past life makes these details vivid. O"Dell"s consist of of such details in a fast-paced adventure story lends richness and depth come the novel and brings glowing Morning"s character to life. Bright Morning"s adventures create a great deal of suspense. When good misfortune is around to befall a character, O"Dell often clues at the forthcoming event and also then move to an idyllic description of nature just prior to disaster strikes. Because that instance, prior to the slavers abduct shining Morning and Running Bird, shining Morning lapses into a revery about the relaxed spring day: "Clouds drifted in native the north, yet they were feather clouds, white together lamb"s wool. In the stream the wandered across the mesa speckled trout were leaping." Then

glowing Morning"s dog barks, and minutes later on the girls space bound and gagged. Similarly, just as shining Morning and Running Bird forget about the danger posed by soldiers camped close to their village and shot to coax a squirrel under from a pinon tree, shining Morning notices a puff the smoke and also realizes the the soldiers space burning the village. In enhancement to developing suspense, this an approach of juxtaposing a relaxed scene with a violent occasion underscores the affect of the violence.


O"Dell stated that he was pertained to with the method in which kids grow increase in American society and through the failure of different societies to understand and appreciate one another. These involves are noticeable in Sing down the Moon.

O"Dell shows Bright Morning farming from the girl that abandoned her sheep into the mature woman who have the right to break the lance she husband makes for your son. She rejection of a tradition of warfare assures a new cultural direction for her people. A feminist template is implicitly both in O"Dell"s selection to do a young mrs his narrator and also main character, and also in the direction the story takes. In classic Navaho society, masculine interests dominate, and also these interests assist to provoke "the long march." despite warnings native the U.S. Government that Navaho raids versus the Utes will carry reprisals, the Navaho room unable to give up warfare as a method of acquiring extra food, ar advantage, and an individual honor. Despite Bright Morning and other women understand exactly how foolish such habits is and also emphasize the importance of protecting your precious, fertile canyon, the men will not listen. Rather, they urge upon the classic way, in which women submit and also avoid contradicting husbands and fathers. While women have actually a voice in lack affairs, they absence the power to change the men"s foolish behavior. Tall Boy"s loss of the use of his arm and also the couple"s sufferings in exile cause Bright Morning"s delinquent of a new ideal that guarantees a beneficial readjust for her people.

In Sing under the Moon, lot suffering results from the failures of societies to understand and appreciate one another. The Navaho room unable to give up their lengthy rivalry with the Utes also though they have actually all castle need. The Spanish-American world of brand-new Mexico tears young ladies away from "savage" tribes to get slaves and also servants. The U.S. Soldiers who move the Navaho think that them as primitives that need and desire autocratic control. In each case, cruelty occurs from ignorance and a lack of initiative to get over the ignorance. Come use people or pressure them come conform always seems the much easier choice, unless it is seen from the suggest of see of the victims. By telling the story from Bright Morning"s point of view, O"Dell insures that his readers will certainly see how unnecessary and also wrong room such brutalities together the Navaho lengthy march and also the exile at fort Sumner.


Estes, glen E. Dictionary of literary Biography. Vol. 52. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986. Has a conversation of O"Dell"s job with detailed descriptions and reviews of his young adult books.

Townsend, john Rowe. A sense of Story: Essays on contemporary Writers because that Children. Brand-new York: Lippincott, 1971. Includes a brief overview the O"Dell"s early novels and also an excerpt from an essay in which that discusses his aims as a writer because that young people.

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Wintle, Justin, and also Emma Fisher. The Pied Pipers: Interviews v the Influential. Creators that Children"s Literature. Brand-new York: Paddington, 1974. Includes an interview v O"Dell about Sing down the Moon and his other novels, his factors for writing books for young people, and also his views around the function of young adult literary works in modern American society.