Analysis Of Louise Erdrich 's ' A Healthy Way Essay
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Louise Erdrich’s Tracks occurs in the 1910s, in the midst of anti-Native racism and government-sanctioned Indian boarding schools. The characters in Tracks must reconcile with their Native American culture while also facing the constant threat to their culture. The characters in Tracks attempt to understand and accept their cultural identities in a country doomed with racial tensions. Napush is an example of a character who is able to positively accept his Native American identity in a healthy way, while Pauline is an example of a character who is unable to accept her Native American identity and reacts negatively to it. Nanapush and Pauline both come to terms with the anti-Native racism they encounter in drastically different ways. On one hand, Nanapush does not feel tempted by the white culture that surrounds him. He actively attempts to embrace his Ojibwe identity, despite the white culture that surrounds him. He can see the value in preserving his Native American heritage. In contrast, Pauline actively rejects her Ojibwe identity in favor of attempting to create a new, white identity for herself. She uses her highly religious nature to try and separate herself from her Native American identity.
The racism and anti-Native culture that surrounds Pauline eventually breaks her down and makes her believe that she must become white. She even starts to believe that she must kill her inner Native identity so that she can finally be accepted as a member of the white community.