The first way Richard Wagamese establishes the importance of culture is by showing how it can have enormous impact on developing individual’s self-concept. Culture gives a strong courage to individuals to view themselves as unique and indispensable human beings who are significant in a huge community. In addition, it helps people to develop their self-concept in a positive way. In the novel, Garnet gets separated from his family and the culture as he says “Growing up in all-white homes, going to all-white schools, playing with all-white kids can get a guy to thinking and reacting all-white himself after a while. With no one pitching in any information I just figured I was a brown white guy” (17, Wagamese). These new environments around Garnet have given him only one choice but to be involved in the white culture and compel him to hide his own identity. As a result, isolation from his own culture has made him to lack the essential knowledge that he needs to develop for his own ideal self-concept. Being part of the culture where one does not feel a sense of belonging strongly discourages to find one’s true self because once, people feel difference or they do not belong in the certain culture they start to get confused and lose their own identity. “No one could understand why I broke into tears that day. No one could understand why I dropped my little guns and holster and ran indoors and up to my room, and I, in turn, couldn’t understand why everyone at the suppertable that night broke into uncontrollable laughter when I was asked about it and I explained, cause I don’t know how to be an Indian!” (19, Wagamese). As can be seen, culture including the setting, environment, and the surrounding is crucial to individuals as it influences the development of the self-concept and there is nothing else that can replace the own culture.
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