Pushing the Bear

Historical accuracy

(Look at References and Extended Reading for documents and articles about the history of the Cherokee people.)

Glancy adds validation and creditability to Pushing the Bear because of her strict adherence to historical accuracy and consistency. Many of the experiences her characters face in the novel are actual experiences Cherokee men and women had on the Trail of Tears. For instance, Valerie Miner, who critiqued the novel for The Women’s Review of Books, states: “Glancy has read widely about and traveled closely along the trail. She complements her imaginative storytelling with such authentic details as the axle-grease used to soothe children’s chapped lips”(Miner 13).[10] Glancy also alerts the reader to the fact that many white farmers would charge the Cherokee a fare for crossing through their land.

Along with all of the small details, Glancy also incorporates detailed maps at the beginning of each chapter in the novel, depicting the route the Cherokee followed towards Indian Territory, making the trek more real and visual for her audience.

Some of the characters in the novel are real historical characters, such as Reverend Bushyhead and Chief John Ross. Rather than creating all of the sections in her novel as voices and thoughts of characters, Glancy also includes stories written in The Cherokee Phoenix, Reverend Bushyhead’s list of all the supplies he needed at the mission, and many other historical documents.

Finally, Glancy includes bits of the Cherokee language within the text and a full alphabet and a poetic translation at the end of the text. Each of these historical elements aids in providing the reader with a consistent and reliable account of the Trail of Tears.


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