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Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”: Analysis and Meaning Essay

This essay is an analysis of “She Had Some Horses” by Joy Harjo. It also demonstrates what common themes are used by the poet in her other lyrics. Harjo is currently on faculty in the English Department at the University of Arizona (Velie 287). A creative powerhouse, Harjo has published 12 books of poetry and two children’s books (Velie 287).

She is also an accomplished musician, saxophone player, dancer, painter,screenwriter and feminist (Scarry 1). Of Cherokee descent, Harjo graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa and is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma (Scarry 1).

Harjo’s early influences include time spent at an all Indian boarding school in 1967, during which the environment devoted to Native American creativity directly inspired her poetic leanings. Harjo also cites a Galway Kinnell poetry reading, the first poetry reading she ever attended, as an event that made literature appear viable and correct as a vocation when she was a fledgeling poet (Scarry 1).

Best known as a poet, Harjo’s thematic use of animals appears regularly in her poetic works, particularly the horse. Harjo’s most well-received book of poetry to date, She Had Some Horses, was published in 1983 by Thunder’s Mouth Press. This paper details Harjo’s use of animal imagery and its thematic resonance in her most powerful poems.

For Harjo, the horse represents Harjo’s dualistic view of the human condition, at once urban and simultaneously of nature. The classic example of this “psychic dualism” occurs in the title poems of Harjo’s She Had Some Horses (Scarry 1).

In his analysis of “She Had Some Horses”, critic Dan Bellm characterized the poem as “a long litany of the `horses’ inside a woman who is trying to become whole” (Scarry 1). However, the poem transcends the physical manifestation of a woman and encompasses a broader view of humanity.

In this poem, J.Harjo’s perspective on the fundamental dualism of human nature shines as she personifies a slew of horses engaged in decidedly urban and social pursuits. That’s the principal meaning of “She Had Some Horses”. The lyrics speak of “horses who cried in their beer,” a haunting image of addiction, as well as “horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet in stalls of their own making” (Harjo 6).

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More Lines like these show the reader Harjo’s dualistic themes of freedom and captivity; both imposed and self-generated. In the same poem the reader witnesses “horses who spit at male queens who made them afraid of themselves” and “horses who called themselves, “spirit” and kept their voices secret and to themselves” (Harjo 6).

Herein the reader feels the urban experience of hate, racism and homophobia, juxtaposed with the spiritual element, the propensity of humans to simultaneously aspire to higher realms while mired in hatred, conformity and separation. Harjo’s brilliant use of metaphor explodes in such passages as “She had horses who got down on their knees for any saviour. She had horses who thought their high price had saved them. She had horses who tried to save her, who climbed in her bed at night and prayed as they raped her” (Harjo 6). The quote from the poem is as disturbing as it is beautiful, which speaks to Harjo’s overall point – no human being is perfect, and we are all a work in progress.

Harjo’s horses also appear regularly in lyrical studies of addiction, such as in the poem Night Out. “I have seen you in the palms of my hands, late nights in the bar, just before the lights are about to be turned on. You are powerful horses by then, not the wrinkled sacks of thin, mewing spirit that lay about the bar early in the day, waiting for minds and bellies” (Velie 287).

Let’s turn to the analysis of another poem by Joy Harjo. In Night Out, we see Harjo’s dualism once again, this time through the freeing effect of intoxication. The men and women of the bar begin as “wrinkled sacks of thin, mewing spirit,” but regain their natural state – like horses – via alcohol, wherein they transform into “powerful horses” (Velie 287). The metaphor of an animal as the natural state that people easily regain is probably Harjo’s favourite poetic convention.

Harjo paints a dark portrait of addiction in Night Out, as a means to regain lost power, albeit ephemerally – “Your voice screamed out from somewhere in the darkness, another shot, anything to celebrate this deadly thing called living” (Velie 287).

However, Harjo’s poem remains an honest appraisal of the appeal of alcohol and other addictive substances to those of living in the urban environment, simply because these inebriants offer a way back to self-esteem and freedom.

The thematic use of horse imagery in the poem What I Should Have Said also illustrates Harjo’s theme of escape – escape back to the halcyon days of Native American freedom, as well as escape to the internal “safe” fantasies of the mind designed to make urban life bearable.

We will write a custom Research Paper on Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”: Analysis and Meaning Essay specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The lines in What I Should Have Said that best illustrate this idea include “We are horses knocked out with tranquillizers, sucked into a deep, deep sleeping for the comfort and anaesthesia death. We are caught between clouds and wet earth, and there is no motion either way” (Velie 288). The analysis of Harjo’s poem called What I Should Have Said demonstrates that the horse there is the creature that exists between two worlds.

Joy Harjo’s poetry also employs the horse as a metaphor for the creative process. We witness this usage of the horse most clearly in Harjo’s poem Explosion from her 1983 collection She Had Some Horses. “But maybe the explosion was horses, bursting out of the crazy earth near Okemah.

They were a violent birth, flew from the ground into trees, to wait for evening nightmares to come after them: then into the dank, wet fields of Oklahoma, then their birth cords tied into the molten heart (Harjo 26). In Explosion, the horse comes to symbolize the act of creation itself.

In summary, Joy Harjo employs poetic images of the horse and effectively uses the theme of the horse as a live conduit between the urban world and the natural world.

Harjo’s poems traverse rich interior landscapes that echo the visible world while simultaneously showing its flaws and ugliness. Joy Harjo’s poetic prowess has ranked her firmly in the upper echelon of Native American writers. Her poems divulge a “very personal vision of reality, with images from her own culture illuminating the wider American landscape” (Scarry 1).

Harjo’s work does not shy away from the controversial settings of addiction, pain, loss and its impact on Native American culture. However, her poems are of such high quality that they transcend social justice poetry and become instead a means to communicate the universal human condition.

Harjo’s extensive use of the horse to “deal fluidly with the themes of past and present—in historic and even prehistoric terms” as well as the personification of urban strife through the dualistic nature of the horse, deepens her work and speaks to a broader audience (Scarry 1).

Works Cited Harjo, Joy. She Had Some Horses. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1983. Print.

Not sure if you can write a paper on Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”: Analysis and Meaning Essay by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Scarry, John. “Joy Harjo: Overview.” Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed. Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Web.

Velie, Alan R. American Indian literature: An Anthology. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. Print.

Professionalism and Ethics Essay

Nursing Assignment Help Professionalism and ethics are key factors in a job setting. These two aspects work hand in hand. Engineering is no different case. Ethics seeks to evaluate deeply on moral aspects. It entails the practices that the staff carries out in an establishment. It incorporates; good value, code of conduct, moral value, principles and virtues. The ethics enable one to outlay professionalism in undertaking his engineering career.

Professional ethics helps a lot in proficiency and comprehending problems encountered in this field. Ethics assists one to know the good and bad sides of a person in a work setting. Engineering ethics are the codes of standard applied in the field of engineering. These ethics portray good conducts in professional engineers.

In accordance with the innovation in science and technology one needs to uphold high moral standard in terms of principle and practices. It concentrates on doing the right action with out inconveniencing other parties. In engineering one needs guidelines that propel him or her to success in this field. The guidelines are set values that give the ability to make correct choices, decisions and action. Not all values are equal.

It all depends with the perception of a person and his/her experience. One can modify and create beliefs that define his identity. Thus he may hold characters such as social skills, peace among co-workers, truth and honesty. Perseverance, discernment and accuracy are also values that one needs to have in order to relay services professionally. This boosts his moral behavior and upholds professional skills.

In addition to values and morals a professional needs work ethics. These ethics ought to be principled and easy to interpret. Employing attitudes of work value will need a lot of motivation in order to succeed. This goes along way to increase the productivity and overall performance in engineering.

In the work place the relationship among co-workers and employees in the organization, depends heavily on the ethics. The engineers tactfully apply the code of ethics to tackle problems encountered in the field. The engineer should offer high standard of service to the client. He should work towards achieving set objectives as part of strengthening his skills in the profession (Naagarazan 41).

Moral issues may arise at certain times in an organization. This will require one to apply professionalism to tackle such issues. Issues such as resource crouch may lead one to be manipulated and unethical termination of projects. Another issue is applying double standards in making decisions and selection of projects.

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More The management may seek to fulfill their interest more than the employees. The employees may develop poor attitude to providing services to the consumers.

These issues can be sorted through normative inquiry where norms are used to guide the employees and the management to run the organization. The management should come in strongly to offer a neutral field for implementation of these norms.

Another way of curbing moral issues is by conceptual inquiry where all the employees are directed and informed of the concepts and principles. Factual or descriptive inquiry is another way to solve the moral issues arising in an organization. This inquiry provides information about practices and effectiveness of the system.

When one upholds professionalism he or she expects to be loyal to the organization, have high level of integrity, be knowledgeable and applies tact in undertaking tasks of the organization. He should be a social catalyst and serve the management and other employees without biasness.

The professional conduct helps to gain trust in the public and improve professional development (Naagarazan 39). Professionalism in the public domain determines how resources and other activities are carried out. A professional will bear responsibility of his work in the sense that he becomes liable and accountable for action he takes in the organization. By carrying out his duty well, he gets appraisal from the management due to his success.

A competent professional will strive to meet the requirement of the client. It is highly recommended that clients confidentiality to be observed. This is also part of professionalism since the client builds trust in the employee.

Other attributes of a competent professional is to respect the management and other employees as well as the client. Courtesy when communicating to client will boost confidence in the engineer from the client perspective. They should also be ready to offer services to a diverse population.

We will write a custom Essay on Professionalism and Ethics specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The employee should avoid fraud and misuse of resources at all times. Above all discipline is very important. In a sum up professionalism is the equality of being honest and faithful to the profession. Always honor the law and observe rules and regulation of the State.

Professionalism may be hindered by a number of factors such as poverty levels and high level for illiteracy in the society. Most engineers may take advantage of these situations in the society and offer substantial services to them. To curb this situation the engineers should be given adequate remuneration to refrain them from exploiting the less fortunate (Philip 74). Professionalism and ethics work hand in hand.

For one to be a successful professional he or she needs to have all the ethics values and virtues. Successful engineers are as a result of the moral behaviors and work ethics they endorse in their day to day undertaking. If these ethics are advocated world wide then the world will absolutely have more engineers who are professionally fit.

Work Cited Naagarazan, Ramayan. Textbook on Professional Ethics and Human Values. New Delhi: New Age International, 2006. Print.

Philip, Sadler. Management consultancy: a handbook for best practice. London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2002. Print.

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