News of The World by Paulette Jiles
The novel, News of The World by Paulette Jiles, depicts a journey of cultural interconnection in Texas after the Civil War. During this time period, Texas becomes divided from the world and dilapidated with no law enforcement, and an uneducated, unethical society. The main character, Captain Kidd is emotionally lost during his journey through Texas with a former Kiowa captive, Johanna Leonberger. Johanna, a young girl taken away from her parents at age four is also emotionally lost in life because she is confused, and doesn't know or understand what’s going on. Throughout this novel, the reader sees their enriching bond through this journey by working together to overcome difficulty, and overcome society’s prejudice against the cultural connection of two different races. The driven emotional conflict inside the journeys’ of Captain Kidd, and Johanna, within an unethical society helps them find a purpose and success.
Captain Kidd’s lost emotional state takes him into a new direction where he discovers happiness through caring for the young girl, Johanna. Up until the time he meets Johanna, Kidd reads the News of The World to townspeople however he is confused regarding his life value and purpose. For instance Kidd wonders, “Maybe we just have one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and never sure what it says”(121). Kidd, throughout this novel is confused to his purpose adrift in Texas without his family and daughters that care, and love for him. As Kidd is reminded by his distant family, Kidd becomes passionate for caring for Johanna because it reminds him of his two daughters far away in Georgia. Kidd is able to solve his confusion and conflict by recognizing the bond they endured was something that inspired each-other. Through helping Johanna, he is able to solve his life question, what is the purpose. Although his message, or the central theme throughout his life will be a question that results in conflict however it will drive him to the next and final stage of his life. In the journey with Johanna, Kidd’s questionable message inspired him to care for a girl in need of guidance.
Johanna, a lost and confused girl finds hope with Kidd on a vast journey far away from having a loving and caring family. Again, Johanna barely knows her parents, her own language, nor does she understand whats going on. From the guidance provided by Kidd, Johanna transformed her life because her bond with Kidd gave her a second chance in the world to adapt to a normal lifestyle. Johanna adapts to a, “normal life”, when she is able to solve her emotional conflict. Such as when Kidd says,“She had been laced into a thing that she could only imagine was for magical purpose, meant to confine her heart and breath in a sort of cage to hold her forever like a shut fist that would never open”(31). From the beginning, Johanna’s life was conflicted by the Native Americans as a war captive that disconnected herself from her family and society. Johanna cannot endure the feeling of being free and able instead isolated and unable because all her life, she was trapped in what felt like cage away the world. From the guidance provided by Kidd, Johanna is able to break free from being scared and confused because Kidd gave her by the extensive care. For instance, Kidd educates her proper manners and how to communicate with people. In addition, Johanna is exposed to real world situations like th. Moreover, Johanna becomes able to live a prosperous life by following the aid provided by Kidd learning to overcome her worst enemy, society.
Texas’ divided society propels conflict with an unforgiving heart to the journeys’ of Johanna and Kidd. Similar to Kidd and Johanna, people who came to Texas were in search opportunity for a successful and prosperous life. Yet society is uneducated, and make unethical decisions like their encounter with Alamay, a man with a purpose to make Johanna a prostitute for his own profit. Additionally, in Kidds readings there is political opposition that promotes The News of The World should be centralized on the Confederacy beliefs. As in Kidd’s view, “If people had true knowledge of the world perhaps they would not take up arms and so perhaps he could be an aggregator of information from distant places and then the world would be more peaceful”(29). From not giving Texas to the Union, Texas became obsessed on Confederate beliefs, which made Texas isolated from the reconstruction and healing of America. Unlike to the bond between Kidd and Johanna a unified group, they established through their bond unity and a provided peace by Kidd’s continous efforts to enable Johanna to trust him. With a divided and unequal society, Kidd and Johanna’s bond are unrealistic for this time period their bond suggests no evidence for a life purpose with a. Furthermore, the broken Society of Texas cannot find happiness but Texas is transformed with the powerful bond between Kidd and Johanna which provide unity in a time period of historical divide.
Through the depiction of the bond between Captain Kidd and Johanna, Jiles provides an example of people that can unite rather than divide. In a time period of American reconstruction comes a time of divide between the confederacy and the union. Throughout this novel, Jiles gives an example of people who were able to work together, set apart their cultural differences to find hope. When confined to a space In a rural and undiscovered Texas, there really isn’t much hope although these two people find hope inside each other by culturally bonding with each other. Both Kidd and Johanna connect because they see love and family over hatred and bigotry; they are both culturally different however value life in the same way. In essence, the purpose of life is to be successful but also stay close to your loved ones because loved ones are the people that give hope and opportunity.