Central to the story is Black Elkâs first vision, which he had when he was nine years old. Black Elk described a journey to a cloud world in the sky, where the six grandfathers gave him sacred objects which would allow him to maintain the sacred hoop of the Lakota. It was with this vision that Black Elk knew he was different that the other Lakota, but a difference that brought great responsibility as well.
In Her First Elk, the author displays themes of individual isolation, distance from family, and reconciliation. The author begins by painting Jyl as an isolated picture within the woods, the appearance of the elk and her encounter with the two brothers as a path towards reconciling with her family after long while. “…Jyl sometimes looks down at her body and considers the mix of things: the elk becoming her, as she ate it, and becoming Ralph and Bruce, as they ate it (did this make them somehow, distantly, like brothers and sister, or uncles and niece, if not fathers and daughter?)…” (Bass 8)
Her First Elk Themes Or Plot Analysis
Unlike The Glass Menagerie, Her First Elk by Rick Bass utilizes symbolism to describe family. The plot of the story centers on describing a hunting experience. The title selected for the story is rather ironic since the author indicates at the very beginning that she had hunted elk before. Rather than immediately developing the concept of family, the author instead seems to give a vivid description of the hunting scene before eventually providing a somewhat metaphorical reference between the hunt, the elk and Jyl. Therefore, Her First Elk and The Glass Menagerie both utilize symbolism and metaphorical depictions as a way of highlighting the theme perceived by the authors. However, Rick Bass appears to limit the use of vivid imagery as he concentrated more on symbolism. In retrospect, one may have to finish the entire story before exactly understanding how the theme of family comes into play within the literature context.