The story focuses on the sociological circumstances of the Native Indians. Marjorie forcefully persuades Bernice to change her way of life so that she can be assimilated into the “white world” she changes everything about her, such as the way she dresses, the dancing movements she makes, which were pure of Indian origin, the way she pronounced words and several other forms of life. A directive is given to accept the changes without any reservation.
In 1868 and 1869, many Indian natives were forced to live in specific tribal lands that the government allocated them. This story is controversial regarding the issues of racial discrimination and gender in society. It depicts many ways of discrimination by all the people of American origin. The native children were also forced to adopt the dressing of the dominant culture of the original people of America. It is evident from Marjorie’s act of giving Bernice a red dress that she forcefully picks for her.
The color of the dress that is said to be scarlet symbolizes the change in Bernice’s life and the unethical behavior of corruption that she undergoes. To ensure that she is fully assimilated, they force her to go to the barbershop to bob her hair. She describes the shop as a “guillotine.” They tied her using a white cloth tied around her neck to ensure that her hair did not fall into her clothes. “No, but they would tie a white cloth round her neck lest any hair gets on her clothes.
The images of death and blood show the loss associated with the violent acts done against the natives to lure them into accepting what they do not want to change. The cutting of the hair was a symbol of the forceful adaptation of the culture of the Americans and a way of making them forget their “inferior culture.” At first, Bernice did not accept the idea of putting him under difficult circumstances that she did not like. However, the curfews placed on her by remaining the lowest in Marjorie’s hierarchy forced her to accept the conditions heartedly.