Summary of Memories of Childhood
The Memories of Childhood summary deals with two extracts which belong to two different autobiographical episodes. Furthermore, these two episodes deal with the lives of two women whose names are Zitkala Sa and Bama. Both of them had to face hardship and are victims of social discrimination. Zitkala Sa had to deal with racial discrimination while Bama had to suffer caste discrimination. In both the extracts, the writers explore their childhood and there is a reflection on their relationship with the prevalent culture. The culture was harsh towards these women and treated them in a harsh manner in their childhood. Both these accounts how these women went through their oppression. Also, there was resistance by both the narrators in their own ways. Zitkala-Sa and Bama were young but not so young that they were naïve about the mainstream culture’s evil scheme. They became rebellious due to their bitter childhood experience.
Memories of Childhood Summary in English
The first part explores the account of Simmons. Simmons was an American Indian who was against social discrimination towards American Indians. She throws light on her first-day experience at the Carlisle Indian School. Zitkala SA‘s first day at school is bad and unpleasant. The customs of the place were new and strange to her. Moreover, there was pressure on her to wear clothes that were not reputable in her culture.
She does not understand the rules at the breakfast table. Consequently, she makes several mistakes. There was a requirement for everyone to pull a chair at the first bell. Zitkala sat down while others were still standing. Furthermore, everyone had to sit down at the second bell. However, Zitkala kept standing even when the second bell rang. A feeling of humiliation came in her. When another bell rang, she didn’t do anything because of fear of making a mistake. She then cried due to these mistakes and humiliation. She was fearful of the woman with a pale face.
Her friend Judewin talked to her about the cutting of her hair. In her culture, captured unskilled warriors had shingled hair and mourners kept short hair. She hid but was dragged and tied to a chair so as to cut her long hair. There was a crushing of her spirit due to this act. Moreover, this cruelty made her realize the comfort of her home.
The second part is a part of the ‘Karukku’ autobiography by Bama – a Tamil Dalit. Bama was an innocent child who was spending her childhood in a village. She used to walk back home When school was over, she had to do walking to reach home. Furthermore, the normal duration of the walk was ten minutes. However, she made her walk for a duration of half an hour to one hour. This was because she took pleasure in watching the various fun games.
Her innocence was lost when she had to deal with the evil of untouchability very early in life. One day an elder of her community carrying food packet holding it by its strings. She felt amused but her brother explained that they belonged to a low caste. The belief was that the food packet will become impure if there was touching by a lower caste person. Her brother wanted to determine his caste as he asked about the street he lived in. He told Bama that in order to win dignity, she must work hard to win the honor. Bama was a hard-working student and stood first in her class.
Conclusion of Memories of Childhood
Memories of Childhood summary explores the racial and caste discrimination which two children had to experience.