In Songs My Brothers Taught Me, by the end of the movie, John says goodbye to his friends, his mother, his sister, packs up his clothes in a bag and walks to pick up Aurelia.

When John arrives at Aurelia's family, she is having a backyard BBQ party, John hesitates and leaves without meeting Aurelia, who chases after John without seeing him.

John goes back to his family house and meets his sister, who bursts into happy tears.

John no longer wants to travel to LA, instead he decides to settle down on the Indian reservation he was born into.

I am not sure I get it. Why does John change his mind? It has something to do with Aurelia's family BBQ?

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


"To return to one's roots" so much of what the meaning indicates already in this proverb, it depicts a person returning to the start, from the beginning where he/she came from. It's debated in philosophy, like in the The Need for Roots - 1949 by Simone Weil for instance:

'Uprootedness' is defined as a near universal condition resulting from the destruction of ties with the past and the dissolution of community.

My understanding if this is that Johnny goes back to his roots by focusing on the simple things in life, by deciding to return to the ancient lifestyle of his ancestors. One can go back to his roots by going back to his hometown after many years travelling, or back to his old way of life, old job, whatever was "at the beginning" of a life journey.

Going back to roots means trying to align yourself with the way your ancestors lived, which is, in many (this?) cases, in alignment with nature.

Thats's also one of the main principles of Native American drama.

  1. Going back to our roots: the future starts today
  2. Clinging to our roots - NY Times

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