Tie My Bones To Her Back Summary

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The historical fiction book Tie My Bones to Her Back, starts off during the Panic of 1873. The Panic affected the family of two of the main characters, Jenny and Otto Dousmann. Jenny, a mere teenager, living with her parents, and Otto a grown man, who was a soldier from the North and now a buffalo hunter on the Plains. At home, Jenny and her parents struggled. One day, the father, Vati, received a note from the bank stating that they owed a mortgage of 938 dollars. Before Jenny and her mother knew of the outstanding mortgage price, Vati had committed suicide. The same day, her mother, grieving, was found dead after drinking carbolic acid. This brought Otto home, where Jenny convinced him to allow her to come West with him. Here we meet Otto’s…show more content…
Three specific battles brought up in the novel stick out to me. First, the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. In this massacre, 700 militiamen from the Colorado Territory, led by John Chivington, attacked Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. Here, the militiamen slaughtered the anywhere from 69 to 600 Native Americans, two-thirds of them were women and children. The range between these is so drastic because there was no approximate agreement on how many were killed. Before the battle had even begun, the Indians were looking for peace, which was shown by waving an American Flag. One of the things I learned from this was, though at first he was seen as a hero by most, this would be taken away because of the testimonies given before the Senate committee in March 1865. These hearings were taking place due to investigations on Chivington. not only for the massacre of women and children, but also for mutilating the victims’ bodies. They concluded that Chivington had “deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the varied & savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty.” Secondly, the Battle of Washita River in 1868. Led by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, who was convicted of mistreatment of soldiers earlier that year, soldiers charge into a peaceful Cheyenne village. In a few hours, the village was destroyed and over 100 Indians killed. In fact, at first Custer reported that…show more content…
Otto explained it Jenny by saying “They [Indians] have no sense of decency, of pity or of kindness… When an Indian kills another Indian, he goes the whole hog. He not only ends the man’s life in this world, he makes sure the poor blighted heaven won’t have much fun on the Spirit Road either. After he’s scalped his enemy, if he’s got the time, he’ll gouge out his eyes, slice off his nose, knock out his teeth, yank out his tongue, cut off his hands and feet, take out his brain and lay it on a rock.” He explained that they do that so when they go to the afterlife, they will not enjoy it. Native American mutilation was rampant, which is why this story fascinated me so much. I learned a lot about the Indians from this story alone. Firstly, I learned about their culture and view on the afterlife. Though I knew that they believed in it, I did not know that the Indians believed that if they were harmed in this world, it would carry on to the next. Another fascinating story is when Raleigh talks about when he shot Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville. He first talks about how “Blue Light brought it off there at Chancellorsville,” meaning the battle plans. He then talks about the “mortal sin of defense… the unforgivable sin” when he shot Jackson. I found this interesting because it gave a sense of realism to the novel. Though Raleigh is not a real person, just a character

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