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The Kiss of the Fur Queen Essay

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Thomson Highway’s The Kiss of the Fur Queen has a core theme of art. In this novel, art is integrated into the lives of the characters. The modernist movement would indicate that art has the ability to plainly exist “art of arts sake”. Peter Lamarque notes “To value a work for its own sake is to value it for what it is in itself, not for the realization of some ulterior ends.” (par. 19) This commonly accepted view, that art is valued because it is great art, not for the role or function that it has in society, restricts arts impact. This perspective limits and does not allow for the surfacing of profound effects that art creates. In the Kiss of the Fur Queen, art has power it does not simply exist but has function. The observable function of art in this text is in education, providing identity and finally uniting Gabriel and Jeremiah with their cultural roots.
Art educates. This education can be both positive and negative but art can function as an educational tool that has lasting effects. A 2009 article in the New York Times titled: “Schools Adopt Art as Building Block of Education” indicates the growing acceptance of art functioning in education. In this article, the unique architecture of the building was used practically by students “measuring whimsical figures of hot-air balloons, paper airplanes and pinwheels built right into the walls of their school” (par. 1). The architecture also functioned as inspiration for further learning. In addition, the article documented the perspective of a four-year old child who proclaimed that “When you look at it, it helps you learn.” (par. 20) When Jeremiah looked at the image of heaven and hell he learned significant life lessons. This picture that was presented in residential school ...


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...ovel. The embedded role of a trickster in the novel points towards the underlying significance of art in the brother’s lives and the concept that this novel itself is a Cree story; is art. Throughout this novel little piece of native art function to unite the Jeremiah and Gabriel together and to their native roots.
In The Kiss of the Fur Queen art is not only demonstrated as having a function, but specific examples are provided. Art in this text functions in three main ways. It functions as education, identity, and cultural formation. Counter to the concept that art can simply exist for art sake is that the meaningful functions of art are encountered in daily life. This novel crystallizes that concept and confirms that preserving and continuing artistic endeavours is needed not just for the sake of art, but for the many profound implications of arts functions.



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