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Louise Erdrich's poem, "Dear John ayne," describes assimilation and immigration into a culture defined by racism. Elements of poetry, including diction, image, tone, metaphor, irony, theme, and symbol all play a role in Erdrich's description of culture and racism. Ultimately, "Dear John ayne" describes white culture's extortion of land and culture from a Native American perspective.
The poem begins with a description of group of young Native American men lying on the hood of a Pontiac car, watching the face of John ayne as he defeats a group of Indians in a spaghetti western. Here, John ayne, the American cowboy, himself symbolizes the white invasion of the west, and the white man's taking of Native culture and land. ayne himself is the ultimate fighter against the Indians, the individualistic and rugged cowboy that symbolizes the white desire for land and power. The poem describes "hordes of mosquitoes," which represent the…
Erdrich, Louise. Dear John Wayne. In: Meyer, Michael. 2001. Poetry: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Bedford/st Martins, p. 444-445.
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. Specifically, it will make a claim about the connection between food and conflict in the novel, then support the claim with evidence from the book and personal analysis and interpretation. Food is a very important element in "Love Medicine," and much of the food references in the novel also revolve around conflict, which is a central theme in the novel. Food and conflict often go hand in "real" life, and the characters in the novel rely on food when times get tough.
"Love Medicine" is an interesting novel that blends cultures, thoughts, and the beauty of the land into a haunting novel that is difficult to put down. The novel opens with June, and an image of colored Easter eggs in a bar. They represent June's conflict within herself, and her pull toward home, but a home that holds nothing for her. She is hungry…
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine: New and Expanded Version. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1993.
Morace, Robert A. "2 From Sacred Hoops to Bingo Palaces: Louise Erdrich's Carnivalesque Fiction." The Chippewa Landscape of Louise Erdrich. Ed. Chavkin, Allan. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1999. 36-62.
Stookey, Lorena L. Louise Erdrich: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Tracks by Louise Erdrich
It is easy to forget within the pride of patriotism that the United States is a post-colonial culture. Through the devaluation and near extinction of the cultures that once thrived within the confines of what some now consider the greatest country in the world is the story of so many colonized people from all over the world. Though not the only theme within Louise Erdrich's Tracks, the postcolonial reality of the U.S. can clearly be seen as an assumed reality within the limited and often challenged existence of the Native merican culture of the Chippewa.
Rather early in the post-colonial phase, "Tracks chronicles the lives of Ojibwa people living in North Dakota between the winter of 1912 and the spring of 1924." (Stookey 1999) Scholarship on the issue of colonial native merica has recently headed toward the interdisciplinary approach and has learned to embrace narrative fiction.…
Author Rita Ferrari speaks of the kind of amalgamation that is demanded of the native culture and how other scholars, David E. Johnson and Scott Michaelsen in Border Theory view it. "In discussing the border between Anglo and Amerindian cultures, they suggest thinking of the complexity - the profound interrelationship of the very ideas of European and indigenous cultures - as a product of colonialist thought from its inception." (Ferrari 1999 3) Allen Chavkin discusses the making of an ethnic novel as seen by Rainwater and how the role of the author is to unsettle the reader with the reality of discomfort in assimilation, "Rainwater investigates the potential reader's experience of American Indian texts. She sees ethnic signs embedded in certain texts by Indian writers, including Erdrich, that function as a continual source of disruption and undermine a comfortable interpretive position for the reader." (Chavkin 6)
Jeanne Armstrong discusses the interplay between the individual character's tragedies and the symbolism that they explain through the overlay between culture and character. "In Louise Erdrich Tracks the characters are shaped by the historical context that they inhabit...The novel's personal events are framed by the larger context, including the breakdown of community and loss of land when the Turcot Lumber Company pressures people to sell land to them, causing conflict between those who want to sell and those who resist." (Armstrong 17)
Trade and spirit were regulated to meet the needs of the white world but humor outlasts both, "I got a herd of this Indian beef corralled out in the woodpile and branded the government way," I told him. "I'm planning on holding a roundup." (Erdrich 1988) When Nanapush was so destitute that he was eating rotting gopher meat he jokes with his nephew Eli about the stark reality of how trapped they are for resources. This cultural generation of humor within Erdrich's novel Tracks does not go unnoticed by other scholars "In Louise Erdrich's novel Tracks, humor provides powerful medicine as the Chippewa tribe struggles for their physical, spiritual, and cultural survival at the beginning of the twentieth century." (Gregory 1998) When critics discuss the character of Nanapush and his role in assimilation they compare it to the ideas associated with black assimilation to the extreme what might be known as something Zora Neil Hurston refers to as "Uncle Tomming." "As with muddying the truth by story-telling, then, "Uncle Tomming" is a tool of the trickster, but this mimetic practice shows the lie behind the truth, rather than changing the truth by means of the lie. (Hughes 87) In this example assimilation becomes a tool for the colonized to see inside the world of the
His mother chose to leave him behind for reasons best known to her and not only that; she also tore him away from two little girls who had been such an important part of his life. This completely changes his personality and when as an adult he loses his wife, he connects his childhood experience to this negative experience and becomes an alcoholic. Thus we can say with some degree of certainty that non-traditional families tend to cause more harm than do any good to the people involved. It also creates problems for the society which had yet to show acceptance for changing family structures. The selfishness of some people can hence destroy many precious lives forever.
THE SHAWL, Accessed online http://www.blogs.uni-osnabrueck.de/studyskills/files/2008/11/erdrichthe-shawl.pdf
Astone, Nan Marie, and Sara S. McLanahan. (1991). "Family Structure, Parental Practices and High School Completion." American Sociological eview 56:309-320.
Sandefur, Gary D., Sara McLanahan, and oger…
THE SHAWL, Accessed online http://www.blogs.uni-osnabrueck.de/studyskills/files/2008/11/erdrichthe-shawl.pdf
Astone, Nan Marie, and Sara S. McLanahan. (1991). "Family Structure, Parental Practices and High School Completion." American Sociological Review 56:309-320.
Sandefur, Gary D., Sara McLanahan, and Roger a. Wojtkiewicz. (1992). "The Effects of Parental Marital Status During Adolescence on High School Graduation." Social Forces 71:102-121.
Silvia Meggiolaro, Fausta Ongaro. Family contexts and adolescents' emotional status. http://epc2010.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submissionId=100322
Tracks Louise Erdich
hat are the strategies that Erdrich uses to pull the reader quickly into her story?
Louise Erdrich pulls the reader into her novel Tracks by using two strong narrators, Nanapush and Pauline Puyat, who are hostile to each other and represent opposed points-of-view, although neither is exactly 100% honest. The story opens during the tuberculosis epidemic of 1912, which "must have cleared all of the Anishinabe (Ojibwa) that the earth could hold" (Erdrich 1). He tells his granddaughter how he rescued her mother Fleur Pillager from a cabin where all her other family members had died and cured her of the disease. In Chapter 2, the story is taken up by Pauline, who reports that she always wanted to assimilate to white culture and moved to the town of Argus before the epidemic. Her father warned her that "you'll fade out there….You won't be an Indian once…
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks. NY: Henry Holt, 1988.
Gonsior, Jeanette. "Exploring Native American Culture through Conflicting Cultural Views: 'Magical Realism' in Louise Erdrich's Tracks." GRIN Verlag, 2009.
West, Rinda. Out of the Shadow: Ecopsychology, Story, and Encounters with the Land. University of Virginia Press, 2007.
Ultimately, Karl finds within the society that knows him a willingness to accept him for what he is. It is no longer necessary to hide behind jokes or trickery. He needs not change his sexual identity nor his sense of himself to establish a more mature affiliation with those around him. When reentering the society at Argus, Karl is able to do so still as himself, with a sexual identity that he is comfortable with.
When he does so, Karl is finally able to reenter into society and also into himself. He can now accept himself for what he is, and demand acceptance from others as well. It is with hope and a new maturity that Karl accepts himself. This self-acceptance is the basis upon which Karl can rebuild his life and establish a connection with his surroundings that had never been part of his…
Mauser by Louise Erdrich
What Seems Hard to Believe Turns out to be Believable and Satisfying
Mauser, by Louise Erdrich, is a short story that is so well-written and packs so many emotions (love, heartbreak, infidelity, corruption, lust, rage) into so few pages -- taking a highly unlikely set of personalities and dynamics and making them actually seem highly likely, believable -- it leaves the reader frustrated and yet entertained at the same time. Clearly, Louise Erdrich has created a piece of fiction that is both realistic and unbelievable. The story causes a reader to wonder: how could a woman -- though obviously emotionally unsettled while going through the anguish and heartache of being dumped by a man who works in the same place as she does -- take such risks to help a guy who was very flaky, married, and dangerously lackluster in his values? But in the end,…
Even after she loses her miracle making ability, Mary is capable of profound insights. "Everything that happened to him in his life," she wonders of her brother, at one point, as she is driving in her car towards the end of the novel. "All the things we said and did. here did it go?" As she "didn't have an answer," so she "just drove," reflecting "once I had caused a miracle by smashing my face on ice, but now I was an ordinary person. In the few miles we had left I could not help drawing out Celestine's strange ideas in my mind. In my line of work I've seen thousands of brains that belonged to sheep, pork, steers. They were all gray lumps like ours. here did everything go? hat was really inside? The flat fields unfolded, the shallow ditches ran beside the road. I felt the live thoughts…
Louise Erdrich." (2003). Author Biography. HarperCollins Website. Retrieved 6 Dec 2004. http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides/beet_queen-author.asp#bio
Erdrich, Louise. (1986) the Beet Queen. New York: HarperCollins.
In this light. Dee represents the most successful fulfillment of the material side of the American Dream (Whitsitt). On the other hand, she is unsuccessful at preserving what is most beautiful about her culture by no longer honoring it in any practical sense. In this, she represents the tragedy of loss in terms of meaning, culture, and heritage in blind pursuit of material gain and social success.
The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich
The story by Louise Erdrich similarly demonstrates a dichotomy between the past, the potential of the future, and the scars that cannot be healed as a result of trauma and tragedy. The American Dream and its destruction in this story is represented by two brothers and their initially healthy relationship (boosh). As young men, Henry and Lyman are happy-go-lucky and somewhat irresponsible. Their relationship is healthy and close, represented by a red convertible that they buy restore,…
Powell, Rachel. Character Analysis and Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use. Dec 03, 2007. Associated Content. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/462096/character_analysis_and_symbolism_in.html?page=2&cat=38
Sboosh Academic Article Library. Loss of Innocence in Louise Erdrich's the Red Convertible. 2008. http://www.sboosh.com/articles/201_1/Loss-of-Innocence-in-Louise-Erdrich-the-Red-Convertible/
Walker, Kristen. Symbolism in the Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich. Jul 15, 2008. Associated Content. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/815075/symbolism_found_in_the_red_convertible.html?page=2&cat=37
Whitsitt, Sam. In Spite of it all: A reading of Alice Walker's "Everyday Use." African-American Review, Fall, 2000. Database: FindArticles. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2838/is_3_34/ai_67413399/pg_12
However, although his identity is false, the goodness he has done for the Native population is true, and although he has lied about his past, his lies have not hurt his community, rather they have been a source of healing. The priest's goodness while a priest, however, is one reason why he finds the dissemblance of members of his community so frustrating. In contrast to the life-sustaining lies of Father Damien, that help others with the fullness of a community-sustained myth or holy legend, Sister Leopolda, a nun on the reservation, has made a claim to have Christ's stigmata simply to secure her own sainthood for selfish reasons, in a way that divides the community. She lies in a form that sustains gender stereotypes of women needing to physically suffer to serve as well.
This is one reason why Father Damien believes the woman's actions are evil as well as…
Erdrich, Louise. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel. New York: Perennial, 2004.
narrators in Tracks shows that there is no unified Indian experience. Indian wise men like Nanapush can love their tribes and Indian identities give spiritual significance to their hardship and endure much and learn much from whatever life offers them. Other Indians, like Pauline, are torn asunder by the low value placed on Indian culture by Americans and feel jealous even of their own people, like Fleur, whom Nanapush valorizes as much as Pauline's voice despises this alternative female figure. hile Nanapush tells Pauline "the earth is" as "limitless as luck," she resists his message. Pauline is divided between her mixed blood and her inability to fit into white or Indian society. (14) The two narrators of Pauline and Nanapush symbolize not simply the young woman's divided consciousness, white and Indian, but a divided America and a divided way of viewing hard times and the complex figure of Fleur.
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks. New York: HarperCollins Perennial: 1989.
To truly appreciate the value in a novel as diverse and as rare as Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, one must attempt to identify the author's intention in composing such a work. By virtually any account, the undertaking of this novel is a fairly ambitious one in which Erdrich portrays the connections between the lives of family members and generations over a 50-year time period, beginning in 1934 and finishing, in somewhat Orwellian fashion, in 1984. When an author is dealing with the disparate and unified lives of at least seven characters (depending on which version of the book is read) with a myriad amount of stories that all connect at varying points in the history of the lives of the characters, utilizing a multiplicity of narrators becomes, on a basic level, a fairly essential technique. The primary purpose of utilizing a variety of narrators however, is similar…
Objective Criticism of a Short Story:
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich's narrative is a story within a story. The author begins with a legend-like introduction of the hardships facing a family, which she later links with the present troubles, though a few generations later, of the same family. In the first part of the narrative, the author presents her audience with the two parents and their two children, a boy of five and a girl of nine. However, she makes note that the mother bears a child by a man other than her husband, which soon tears the family apart. The mother falls out of love with her husband quickly, and chooses to go live with her lover. She takes her daughter and her baby, and proceeds to be driven to her lover by his uncle, while the father is left behind with the boy of five.…
"In eloved, Morrison allows the reader to share the legacy of slavery as the characters Sethe, Paul D, and Denver attempt to make a new life in freedom. However, they cannot put the past, lived in slavery, behind them; they must reveal it to themselves, to each other, and to the reader in 'digestible pieces.'" (Nigro) The traumatic events which were experienced by slaves cannot be wiped clean, and the past will continue to have an effect on the future. Today, the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder -- the psychological consequences of experiencing traumatic events -- would perhaps be identified in Morrison's characters. (Feldspar) Nightmares, flashbacks, irritability, emotional detachment, and other distress are common symptoms, and certainly experienced by Sethe and others in eloved, all of which are a kind of continued mental slavery.
In addition to freedom being a myth because of legal and psychological reasons, there are also…
Davis, Kimberly Chabot. "Postmodern blackness': Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' and the end of history." Twentieth Century Literature. Summer, 1998. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0403/is_2_44/ai_53260178/print
Elliott, Mary Jane Suero. "Postcolonial Experience in a Domestic Context: Commodified Subjectivity in Toni Morrison's Beloved." MELUS, 2000. 181. http://www.geocities.com/tarbaby2007/beloved4.html
Feldspar, Antaeus, et al. "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder." Wikipedia. 28 July 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PTSD
JW1805, et al. "Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Wikipedia. 12 August 2005. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Before he leaves, Henry hands over the car to Lyman and this gesture foreshadows his death. Lyman keeps the car in perfect shape and takes immensely good car of it as if it was Henry himself. This is another point of association between the car and Henry. Lyman loves his brother and therefore the way he takes care of the car symbolizes his love for his older brother. He would have taken equally good care of him had he been with him. hen Henry comes back from the war, he has changed a lot so much so that he barely resembles the old Henry he is usually "jumpy and mean"(148).
Because of extreme posttraumatic stress disorder, Henry is always in a state of agitation as if he was still at the battlefield, ready for action. He "would sit in front of the family television, bought by Lyman, "gripping the armrests…
1) Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. New York: Holt, 1984
Fern Hill (Dylan Thomas)
The "Poetry Explications" handout from UNC states that a poetry explication is a "relatively short analysis which describes the possible meanings and relationship of the words, images, and other small units that make up a poem."
The speaker in "Fern Hill" dramatically embraces memories from his childhood days at his uncle's farm, when the world was innocent; the second part brings out the speaker's loss of innocence and transition into manhood. This explication will identify and critique Thomas' tone, imagery (including metaphors) and expressive language (as it contributes to the power of the poem). ("Fern Hill" uses 6 verse paragraphs; there are 9 lines in each paragraph.)
"Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs / About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green / the night above the dingle starry / time let me hail and climb / golden…
Bible Meanings. (2011). Lamb. Retrieved December 9, 2012, from http://www.biblemeanings.info/words/animal/lamb.htm.
Cox, C.B. (1959). Dylan Thomas's 'Fern Hill.' The Critical Quarterly, 1(2), 134-138.
Thomas, Dylan. (2012). Fern Hill. Academy of American Poets. Retrieved December 9, 2012,
from http://www.poets.org .
Elizabeth Bishop's, "Filling Station"
Elizabeth Bishops poem "Filling Station" is about the poet's ability to see something magnificent in the most ordinary of things. It is through the observation of a dirty filling station that Bishop is able to see an example of love. Bishop is known by her skill of employing imagery with attention to detail. (Lauter 2294) In "Filling Station,"she successfully transforms a greasy filling station into a place that displays expressions of love. By engaging the reader in the poem by posing questions, she is asking the reader to look beyond what is on the surface and search for something more.
Bishop has selected the perfect subject for the topic of her poem, as most people would not find a filling station attractive nor would most people stop to think about a filling station -- in one way or another. Although it is just a dirty, greasy…
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington D.C. Heath and Company. 1990.
McClatchy, J.D., ed. Contemporary American Poetry. New York: Vintage Books. 1990.
Trilling, Lionel. Literary Criticism. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. 1970.
Schmidt, Michael. The Lives of the Poets. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1999.