An Analysis Of Louise Erdrich 's ' The Sacred Hoop ' Essay

An Analysis Of Louise Erdrich 's ' The Sacred Hoop ' Essay

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A central tenet to Louise Erdrich’s novels are the narrators she employs to tell her stories. Each character from Nanapush to Marn Wolde offer their own perspective to the larger story as a whole and allow Erdrich to create a web of narrative complexity. Paula Gunn Allen argues in The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions that Native American storytelling and storytellers act as mediators between conflicting views or sides (75). Erdrich takes this notion to heart in her novels; they offer the full scope of a story, branching out and backwards in time to provide the necessary details for a reader to fill in the gaps of the story. An idea mentioned by E. Shelly Reid describes the idea of cohesiveness or “wholeness” of narratives and how a reader is “...encouraged to be suspicious of gaps or hesitations” (69). The Plague of Doves portrays Erdrich’s complication of the idea of “wholeness” as she invites a reader to fill in gaps within the story. Erdrich places the reader in the same shoes as Evelina Harp, who learns and understands the details of the reservation story at the center of the novel. The four narrators, Evelina, Marn Wolde, Judge Coutts and Doctor Cordelia Lochren, provide the full scope of the mob hanging which the claimed lives of three Native American men, sparing the life of one, Mooshum, in 1911 (2008). Erdrich employs characteristics of Native American storytelling within The Plague of Doves, ultimately supporting healing nature of stories while playing to the cyclical view of time and space.
Native American storytelling as a whole goes hand in hand with their community identity. At the center of the community lies the elder. They “…serve as grandparents, role models, and ceremonial le...


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... introduced. She provides the final summary of the lynching and gives the last detail missing in the story: what happened to the baby that survived the murder. As a whole, the narrators appear disjointed and having separate narratives. Yet, as Reid states, “It is thus not only the text that seems fragmented and disorganized, but also the people it represents” (69). Erdrich utilizes seemingly unrelated narrators to nod to the ever-fragmenting reservation culture. However, using the narrators in The Plague of Doves actually illustrates how interrelated each person is with one another. Without Evelina’s character we would have not heard the foundational part of the story. Marn’s chapters introduce Warren Wolde, who reappears in Evelina’s later chapters. And without Judge Coutts introducing Doctor Lochren, Warren could not be named as the actual murderer of the family.

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