The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

The Education of Little Tree is a book that has been written by Forrest Carter, it was written 25 years back in the early 1970s. It was earlier famed as an autobiography but then later it was discovered that it was not an autobiography but a work of fiction that was written by a writer.

The book followed a naturalist theme and it talked about the emotional attachment that the child had with the place he was living in and the people around him and the native region. He was brought up by his grandparents and they had faced a lot of racial discrimination at the hands of the white people. The title itself helped the people understand the Native American culture and the book increased the interest among the other people with regards to the Native American culture. It was actually written by Asa Earl Carter who penned it with the pseudo name of Forrest Carter.
The main message in the book is about simple living, and the traditions that are being followed and kept and the love that is being given and acting as a bond that binds the people together like one close family. The book since its publication has always been in the newspaper and in huge hype, earlier for its beauty and simplicity but later there were many controversies that came up when the cousin of the author wrote an article with the title the transformation of the Klansman. It was reported that the author had a former association with the Klu Klux Klan. It was also known that earlier the author had done a number of freelance work that had related the author to sectarianism and discrimination on the basis of race.

The author earlier had political ambitions too, when he failed to become the governor of Alabama he changed his name and decided to spend a quiet life, it was then that under an assumed name the author wrote this book. Earlier people assumed that it was the author’s own memoir but it was later found that it was purely a work of fiction.
The author talks about the growing up story of the Cherokee boy who learns the ups and downs of life through the warm relationship that he has with his grandparents. He learns the good and bad of life and the relationship that they have had with the people of the white culture. The author has an anti-government stance in this book and says that since the people were never given their rights, in fact, they were mistreated and had to suffer a lot at the hands of the government.

The story revolves around the story of the little boy who comes to live with his grandparents after the death of his parents. The book talks about the boy’s life in his fifth to tenth years. It tells how he learns the traditions and everything from the people around him. He also learns the relationship of giving and take in the small community that he lives in and understands how closely related their life is and how it impacts each other. To get the education of the world the boy or Little Tree as he is fondly called by his grandparents is enrolled in the community school but then leaves it as he has to suffer a lot of prejudice and racial discrimination from the people and the children who come at the school. His grandparents earn through the sale of moonshine, but they have to do illegally as it was the period of prohibition.

The book then follows little tree, when he has to face the natural deaths of his grandparents and then he moves off to work with the different farms as the helping hand. The basic focus of the book is on the problems that they have had to face with all the riots going on and the sufferings that the child had to face at a very young age because of his cast, color, and creed.
There were many people who were angered when they came to know the reality of the author’s background as it was apparent that the author himself was involved in the anti-Indian campaigns and he himself was a great believer in sectarianism. Also, there was another reason the major reason at that which people found as a put off was that the details that were given by the author were not the same as the ones that actually happened. So just considering it as a piece of fiction would be more of a wise decision, though there are many lessons to be learned from it.

 

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