A character’s environment reveals a great deal about his personality. In Chee’s Daughter by Juanita Platero and Siyowin Miller this theory is displayed. In this story, a young Navajo Indian girl is taken from her home by her deceased mother’s parents.
Two different environments which reflect values and personalities are conflicting. A young traditional Navajo, Chee, and a non-traditional Navajo businessman, Old Man Fat, fight over Chee’s daughter, Little One. The two distinctly different settings in this story reflect the personalities of the protagonist, Chee, and the antagonist Old Man Fat.
Chee’s setting reflects his caring nature. He shows this by caring for the land he lives on as a father would do for his son. He shows that he cares for the land by thinking that “if he sang the proper songs, if he cared for the land faithfully, it would not forsake him now…”(82) Chee is trying to grow food and he thinks that if he cares for the land and respects it that the earth would, in turn, make the food grow well.
Another way to show this is how Chee thought that if he “Take care of the land and it will take care of you.”(81) Chee cared and respected the land and in turn, the land gave him food for which he would barter back Little One from Old Man Fat. Chee treats the land as an equal. “He felt so strongly that just now this was something between himself and the land.”(82) Chee treats the land as equal, respects it, and respects him by giving him the food he needs.
Where he lives is pure and real, like the earth. The setting Old Man Fat chooses to live in reflects his personality and values. Old Man Fat owns a small store on the side of the highway that disregards some Navaho customs and beliefs. He does this by flaunting “…pseudo- Navajo designs on the roof.”(78) This is very disrespectful to his tribe. He does not even try to find some real Navajo symbols with real meaning.
Another way Old Man Fat’s values are portrayed in his setting is how he has a “garish blue door which faced north to the highway.”(78) Navajo Indians face their hogans, homes, to the east so that they awake with the sun which symbolizes a new beginning. Lastly, Old Man Fat’s setting reflects his personality is when he has his grand-daughter, Little One; stand in a hogan so that tourists could “see inside a real Navajo home 25 c.”
This depicts his personality because it shows that he would rather make money than have his grand-daughter shown-off like an exhibit. In the story, two contrasting settings display opposite personalities. Old Man Fat’s disrespectful, greedy nature clashes with Chee’s respectful and unselfish ways. This world would be a whole lot better if it was filled with more people like Chee instead of those profiteering gluttons like Old Man Fat
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