A Yellow Raft In Blue Water Essays

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In 1979, Michael Dorris wrote that "there is no such thing as 'Native American literature,' though it may yet, someday, come into being." Among the requirements for such a literature, Dorris continued, was a "shared consciousness, an inherently identifiable world-view." Expanding on this theme of Identity in a 1992 essay, Owens notes that in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, for the most part, "the individual who would 'be' Indian rather than 'play' Indian is faced with an overwhelming challenge." Only Aunt Ida "becomes... the bearer of the identity and order that are so fragile they may perish in a single generation if unarticulated " Although Ida, too, is unavoidably influenced by the bombardment of mainstream culture, Owens notes that "she can take off her earphones and wig, turn off the television soap operas, and become a story-teller, leaving her 'savings'-a recovered sense of self, Identity, authenticity-to Rayona." The other...

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Rayona’s Growth in A Yellow Raft In Blue Water Essay

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Rayona’s Growth in A Yellow Raft In Blue Water

As the subject of the first section of Doris' novel, A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, Rayona faces many problems that are unique to someone her age. Ray's mixed race heritage makes her a target of discrimination on the reservation. Problems in her family life (or lack thereof), give Rayona a reversed role in which she is the mother taking care of Christine. In dealing with these issues, Rayona learns a lot about herself and others.

Because of the life that Christine leads, the role of mother and daughter are switched and Rayona often finds herself watching out for her mom. When Ray comes home from school, she would often learn that her mother had gone out to party. Times like…show more content…

Being isolated from one's peers is not an easy thing to handle. Rayona spends her days alone, wondering about her mother and blaming herself for her troubles. This enhances her feelings of inadequacy. Rayona pulls inside herself by keeping her worries private. When others inquire about Ray's condition, she conceals her problems with lies. By lying she dismisses her difficulties; denies their existence to herself. Inside, she is falling apart; the stress she has to deal with brings her near to a mental collapse.

In the middle of the trip to Aunt Ida's, Rayona wonders what will happen to her. Standing on a hill overlooking Ida's house, Christine runs and leaves Rayona. In a short lapse of time, Rayona has lost her mother and gained an unwilling caretaker. The treatment from both women causes Rayona to question her own value as a person; she finds herself of little worth. As life on the reservation slowly progresses, Father Tom befriends Rayona. While the priest's intentions are innocent, he ends up causing Rayona to feel more poorly about herself. So Rayona runs, she tries to escape from her difficulties at the reservation. At the lake, she decides to begin a new life. Several things happen to Rayona at the camp. The ways her co-workers behave toward her depress her further, and then the letter she finds causes her to want what is perceived as a normal life. Though also at the lake, begins a turning point for Ray

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