A Yellow Raft In Blue Water Analysis

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Through classes and personal experience, many students from Montana know a great deal about Native Americans in the United States. Students learn about their customs, chiefs, and most importantly the discriminating political agreements forced upon them. A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, by Michael Dorris, gives the reader a new perspective into Native American life. Dorris cleverly weaves three generations of Indian women into one, remarkable novel. Throughout the book he uses the physical aspect of braiding hair to represent these lives. This unique way of writing makes the novel truly one of a kind. Dorris uses braiding to signify the intertwining of lives because it allows the reader to make a connection to this metaphor and transforms the characters’…show more content…
An example of this weaving is when both Christine and Rayona tell their side of the same story. “Ever since I can remember I’ve been caught in her ups and downs and all it leads to is this: me sitting in a dented car with a mother convinced she’s about to drive herself off a cliff in a public park, just to spite my father, whom she’s told she never needed anyway” (15). Rayona tells her side of the story as if Christine is about to selfishly abandon her because she wants to go kill herself. Later in the book when Christine tells the same story, the reader discovers that she only wanted the best for Rayona, and strongly believed that Rayona would be better off without her. This is one of the first instances where the reader sees the weaving connected to braiding. Later in the story Christine talks about her drinking, where she says, “In school they had taught her all this crap about drinking and how bad it was for you, smoking too, and she was convinced that I used more than I did, that I was an alcoholic” (238). When Rayona speaks of her mothers’ drinking she acts as if it was a burden and that she became responsible for Christine and did things like put her to bed. These contrasting viewpoints make the reader realize how different every individual life is and allows them to put their own life into perspective. The reader realizes that these lives are connected, however the physical image of braiding hair enhances their connection. It gives a flowing, meshing image that makes this book that much more

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