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36. The Main Character’s Role In Kaw’s Culture Reflected In Mary Whitebird’s Ta-Na-E-Ka


This research is a study of a short story from a sociological point of view. The object of the study is a short story entitled Ta-Na-E-Ka written by Mary Whitebird. The aim of studying this story is to describe Ta-Na-E-Ka ritual habits in old and modern way.

Ta-Na-E-Ka is rite of passage from childhood to adulthood in the age of eleven at Kaw tribe. They were to be sent, barefoot and in bathing suits into the woods. It is a test of survival, the ritual habit in Kaw tribe from childhood to adulthood. The people who participated in Ta-Na-E-Ka were Mary as the main character, Mary’s grandfather named Amos Deer Leg, her cousin and also her friend at school named Roger Deer Leg. All children did Ta-Na-E-Ka in the eleventh birthday.

Looking deeply about Ta-Na-E-Ka in this short story there was opposition of the main character because of her knowledge about modern life. Her friends at school who was getting used to live in a modern way influenced her. At last I can see that the society response toward Mary’s rebellion. Roger gave support to Mary to do Ta-Na-E-Ka in a modern way. Mary’s grandfather who firstly forced Mary to do Ta-Na-E-Ka in old way but finally he realized that some day later the world would be changed and Indian people would face modern world. Mary’s opinion could prove that Ta-Na-E-Ka in modern way was right. They would face the modern world.

This is a qualitative study. The data were in the form of sentences that are found in the short story. The data were analyzed by reading, identifying, inventorizing, classifying, selecting, and reporting from a sociological point of view. Through this way I found out the cause of main character opposition against Ta-Na-E-Ka. This was happened because the knowledge of the main character about modern life, along with Mary’s idealism against Indians tradition. So she does Ta-Na-E-Ka not by eating grasshopper, but she eat hamburger and stays alive in Ernie’s restaurant. Mary as the represent of young generation had thought that traditional way in Ta-Na-E-Ka was not relevant to be done anymore since the tradition did not suit her era.

Based on the result of this study, it can be concluded that the main character did everything to make her grandfather sure that her modern way in doing Ta-Na-E-Ka was right. She had to life in a modern world. Finally, she could bare her grandfather’s heart to receive her modern way and realized that she would live in modern way.
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