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ENGL 1A03 Final: Fleur Notes.docx

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Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins
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Narrating the unspeakable
How does fiction in English “say” what it cannot say?
How can one tell a Chippewa story in English?
The story pushes it prose to represent things at the limits of its (and our) own understanding,
creating a narratice that destabilizes meaning rather than asserting or consolidating it
Story reappears as part of a novel (Tracks, 1988), itself part of a cycle – multiple and repeated
storytelling as a way of approaching lives that are “uncapturable” in a single English narrative
Associate with title character of the story
Figures of hybridity and transformation
Main character is paired with a non-human character (water monster) who plays a major role in the
She is involved with this character during the 2 drowning episodes
The monster wants her for himself, and doesn’t want human men to take her
Misshepeshu (pg. 354) “our mothers warn… cannot survive”
Fleur (356) “her cheeks…only half”
Both characters are a mixture of human and animal, of creature and inanimate materials;
conglomarations of diff types of things; gives the impression of something that defies
categorization, that cannot be captured in words, that changes or is only partially expressible
Ex: “he’s made of gold, he’s made of moss” as if he’s changins as you continue to describe him
“half-tamed, but only half” as if the other half cannot be described in the other half
multiple conflicting descriptions- everyone knows fleur, but no one REALLY knows her or
understands her
Materialization and dematerialization
“… she paid me a beam of notice…. You go?” (357)
fleur has the ability o make Pauline materialize, to come into full vie, to be fully these, with a name,
and able to participate in the action
the narrator is so disembodied that it appears to be a third person narrative
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