Survivance In The Round House By Louise Erdrich

1198 Words 5 Pages
Survivance in The Round House
North Dakota is a sovereignty nightmare. A world so foreign to most Americans, riddled with poverty and the remnants of cultures attacked by the “American way”. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich, paints a picture of life at a Chippewa reservation in the late 1980’s. In this tribe, the members speak Ojibwe in addition to English, which is a part of the Algic language family. The story of The Round House reflects upon modern and past issues in regards to American Indian affairs, it shows the divide between cultures, as well as the assimilation that has taken place. The difference between older characters such as Mooshum and the young teenage boys that the story revolves around is evident. Unfortunately, the Reservation cannot be completely relied on due to conflicts in sovereignty. However, lapses in control and justice are made up for in tribal loyalty, protection, and traditions. An important concept to consider when reading and analyzing The Round House is the idea of survivance. Survivance of a culture, its traditions, its ways, language, and its spiritual holdings. The novel demonstrates the idea of survivance in many of the characters, but it is most prominent in the collective tribal being.
The plot is centered on the rape of the mother,
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Survivance not only means that something has simply survived, it indicates an active sense of presence in culture. Survivance is the opposite of victimization. In some ways, Geraldine could be seen as the general American Indian culture in opposition to the forces of assimilation and imposition. She is completely devastated in spirit, but eventually she comes back to her normal self. She strives to collect her life; not to start over again, but to think in a different way. Geraldine lives on - altered, but still actively

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