Cherokee Formula Poems

Essay by ngd84High School, 11th grade February 2003

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Cherokee Formula Poems

Cherokee formula poems were considered to be useful to a person's life. They were meant to make a person's life easier by making another person fall in love with them or to a certain extent to kill someone else. Obviously the person with the misfortune to die due to a formula poem was not on the "easy" side of the poem. What is very surprising is that the Cherokees believed that these things would really happen to someone else. Of course they were not as evolved scientifically as we are today, so this was a way of life for them. I can only wonder what the rules to using a formula poem against someone else were, because by nature of human beings, someone is bound to get greedy and start saying formula poems left and right. An excellent example of a formula poem is "Formula to Cause Death."

This poem has examples of repetition, it has blanks to include names and also tells us much about the culture of the Cherokees.

The role of repetition in the poem "Formula to Cause Death" is very important because it makes the reader of the poem to put emphasis on those parts. For example, "Your spittle I have put at rest under the earth. Your soul I have put at rest under the earth" (100). These two lines clearly indicate the reader what the formula poem is going to cause without reading the title, death. Another important part of repetition is that it makes the reader of the poem put their mind and heart on those parts as to show that they mean to cause the unfortunate death of someone that they might think is in their way. I think that a formula poem, as severe as this one,