A Common Purpose For All Of Louise Erdrich 's Novel Essay

1344 Words Dec 9th, 2015 6 Pages
A common purpose for all of Louise Erdrich’s novels is to evaluate the roles that religious and cultural beliefs play in influencing Native American heritage. Her novel Tracks, displays the conflict that arises between the Catholic and Ojibwa religions as the Ojibwa people respond to the forced assimilation and religious conversion brought about by the white expansion. In this novel we see three characters and how they respond to the attack on their culture and religion. While Nanapush and Fleur demonstrate their adherence and racial pride to the traditional Ojibwa religion and culture by resisting assimilation into white culture, Pauline abandons the Ojibwa ways and tries to integrate herself into the Catholic religion, displaying her internalized racism while doing so. Family is normally the foundational unit, grounding nearly all cultures and religions. After both of their families are killed by the influenza epidemic, Fleur and Nanapush act like a family. It is through one another’s support that they are able to adhere to the Ojibwa customs, embracing the traditional customs. After saving Fleur, Nanapush carries on the Ojibwa tradition by ensuring that her relatives have a proper burial by making the bear and marten clan markers. Additionally, the passing along of the family name, and not adopting one of Christian origin is a way that Ojibwa culture can be embraced:
“It was through Fleur Pillager that the name Nanapush was carried on and won’t die with me, won’t rot…

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