The main theme I have chosen to focus on from Maria Williams’ version of the well-known creation myth of how Raven steals the sun is purity, and how sometimes it must be sacrificed for the greater good. Elements of this theme are abundant throughout the story. One example is the chief’s daughter. Raven deceives her, using shape shifting, into believing that he is her infant child. She is symbolic of purity, and how it can be taken away through deception. The child is also a clear representation of innocence, for we are born in our purest form.
In the beginning of this version of the myth, Raven starts out purely white. However, it is his escape at the end of the story, when he bursts through the chief’s chimney, which turns his feathers as black as coal. It leaves him as dark as the world was before he freed the light. This represents the loss of Ravens purity and virtue, for in this tale, he deceives the people. His wrongdoing causes him to lose his purity, paralleling the trick he played on the chiefs daughter that made her lose hers. When it was dark, no one was able to admire Raven’s pure white feathers, and now that they can see him, he is as black as soot.
Although Raven has helped the world by bringing light and understanding, he had to make a great sacrifice for the good of all creatures in the world. The sacrifice was lying to the people, and taking something that was not his. Because of this though, he brought forth light to the world, which is a symbol of the enlightening. His image has changed entirely, from the pure, virtuous bird of the beginning of the story, to the mischievous, dark one in the end. The overriding message is that we must make great sacrifices in order to make the world a better place.
Williams, Maria, and Felix Vigil. How Raven Stole the Sun. New York: Abbeville, 2001. Print.