2.5 out of 5 stars to The Life, History, and Travels of Kah-GE-Ga-Gah-Bowh, George Copway: A Young Indian Chief of the Ojebwa Nation, a Convert to the Christian Faith, written in the 1860s by George Copway.
George Copway is a very interesting man. The biographical information made him sound very intriguing and very nostalgic. He writes about Indian culture and how Americans relate to the Indians in the early to mid 1800s. His work The Life of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh was about some person’s life as a Native American and what he went through with his family. The three chapters which represent the entire work failed to draw me in. I enjoyed his descriptions and the whole entanglement with the bear in chapter three, but otherwise, the family squabbles made me not want to read the rest of the work. There is hardly any action in the stories, either – It is more like description. Copway’s work very much reminds me of James Fenimore Cooper’s work. They are both very nature-oriented and descriptive, but there is no real meat to sink your teeth into.
I saw how it was romantic and fits into some of the other works from the time period though. Perhaps, most of the work in the time period is very fluffy and made up of superficial description and detail rather than risky adventure stories like The Adventures of Huck Finn, etc. Copway’s piece really seemed plain, despite the multitude of detail and description in it. It could have been written more like a diary or journal entries rather than a dry history of someone’s life. I agree the language was beautiful and vivid and imaginative, but there was nothing standing behind it yelling out “Action, action… I am present here.” I also liked the part about the different tribes and how they couldn’t marry within the same one because it would be incestuous. It didn’t matter anyway because the Eagle tribe and the Crane tribe were connected because of this and that, etc. It started to really get into characterization and it did especially with the whole father/son vs. bear conflict, but on the whole, it was more language-based than plot-based, so it didn’t particularly appeal to me.
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