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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

16. The Search For Identity

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Toni Cade Bambara
- Sandra Cisneros
- Judith Ortiz Cofer
- Leslie Feinberg
- Diane Glancy
- Maxine Hong Kingston
- David Mamet
- Toni Morrison
- Thomas Pynchon
- Alice Walker
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Diane Glancy (b. 1941)

Protest Against the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
[4203] Anonymous, Protest Against the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) (1970), courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.

Diane Glancy Activities
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Born in Kansas City, Diane Glancy is a poet, short story writer, playwright, and professor. She received her B.A. from the University of Missouri in 1964, her M.A. from Central State University in 1983, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop in 1988. Currently, she teaches creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father's Cherokee heritage is evident throughout her fiction; Glancy concentrates much of her writing on her dual identity as a mixed-heritage Native American. Her stories, including "Jack Wilson or Wovoka and Christ My Lord," address the difficulties of being "half" rather than "whole": half white, half Native American, her narrator defiantly wrestles with her position as both insider and outsider within her community.

Glancy's characters are honest--some readers have commented that they feel as if the characters are personal friends making confessions. For example, in "Jack Wilson or Wovoka and Christ My Lord," the narrator, using the informal (some say conversational) language that is typical of Glancy's characters, tells us, "I believe in being generous up to a point and then I think to say things like they are." Glancy often uses such colloquial language, sometimes with unusual punctuation, to tell stories about her identity, her family, and her spirituality. Her writing style often echoes the Native American oral tradition and, like oral storytelling, her fiction provides details that appeal to all five senses: she writes evocatively of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings that her characters experience, thus drawing her audience more intimately into the work. Glancy's publications include Trigger Dance (1990) and Firesticks (1993), from which the stories in The Norton Anthology of American Literature are taken.

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