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January 16th & 18th notes.docx

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University of Guelph
ENGL 3550
Scott Schau

January 16th Close reading of Chapter 2: Pauline‟s section  significance of pronouns -> she, he, they dominating  this narrator‟s attention is other-directed: see predominance of third person pronouns (both singular and plural)  Pauline‟s attention is directed to other people (obsessed with Fleur)  First story told is completely focussed on Fleur -> Pauline comes into the story as a follower  Use of first person pronouns -> story of Misshepeshu  Antecedent or reference of other pronouns unclear: „we‟ (first- person plural = who?): „you‟ (second person plural singular or plural = who? I?) of Nanapush‟s use of „you‟: Pauline is not addressing a specific listener  Is „we‟ code for „I‟?  Signs of alienation from self and search authoritative position (or alliance with authoritative group)  Unlike Nanapush, lack of bond with next generation (or any listener)  How do you feel positioned as reader by Pauline‟s pronoun usage? Disconnection, confusion (it is not clear where she sits) More mater-of-fact, less culturally specific -> more accessible to non-indigenous reader? Reader in background, not connected to story, reader diminished  Can read Pauline‟s use of the pronoun „you‟ as a conversation or as herself and her own fears  Pauline‟s own name: Christian root (Jesus‟ disciple Paul)  Mixed naming: Misshepeshu (Indigenous) and Chippewa (European) of Nanapush‟s name and vocabulary Pauline‟s perspective throughout the novel:  Continued sense of displacement from self: “I saw through the eyes of the world outside of us” (14) “I noticed that my own shadow moved when I did not” (139) (two things that should be integrally connected are separated) breaks from cultural heritage and personal name (205) (not only saying she‟s totally white but she‟s changed her name)  Desires, whiteness (14,137, 139) “The Indians,‟ I said now, „them‟. Never neenawind or us, and I soon found it was good that I did”. (138) (assimilation of Native people and turn them to the cultural practices or non-Native people physically happens here to Pauline (whitening of the skin)) (use of pronouns again – I am not them (Indians)) but also excluded “as they would a white” (145) (the hold outs of the non-assimilated)  Brings death and pain to herself and others A “midwife” of death (75) with a “scavenger‟s heart” (69) Trying to kill daughter inside her (131,135) Self-mortification (143, 145)  Alternative/complementary queer reading of Pauline‟s position, as marginalized by heterosexual norms within Native community Her obsession with Fleur Her lack of sexual pleasure with Napoleon Her ability to experience heterosexual pleasure only through the body of another woman (Sophie) Her pleasure at the touch of Fleur and Lulu (154) Her retreat to a religious community of women ** Adrienne Rich‟s term „lesbian continuum‟ (preference of same sex company sometimes including sexual intimacy) Fleur:  She was the one who closed the door or swung it open. Between the people and the gold-eyed creature in the lake, the spirit which they said was neither good nor bad but simply had an appetite, Fleur was the hinge” (139) Pauline on Fleur (Visceral)  In her mind she was huge, she was endless. There was no room for the failures of anyone else. At the same time, she was the funnel of our history. (178) Nanapush on Fleur (Mechanical) image of a woman‟s reproductive organs (funnel = fallopian tubes and birth canal)  She figures close to the beginning of both narrators‟ stories  Lack of first-person voice and lack of direct reader access to her point of view  Most traditional and most unknowable  Closest to land most dispossessed of land  Her name: European naming and link nature Additional topics  Religion (51, 70, 110)  Names (32-33, 35, 205)  Allotments and economics (63, 111, 172, 175, 179)  **Agent January 18th The South:  Dividing line = important -> ante-bellum < -- > Civil War post-bellum  Ante-bellum plantation economy -> seen as an ugly economical and political arrangement  Civil War 1861-65  Reconstruction Radical reconstruction 1865 -> Northern presence‟s tried to enforce true equality in the South  “New South” c. WWI onwards (refe
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