Analysis Of Louise Erdrich 's ' The Strange People '

1451 WordsNov 15, 20166 Pages
The narrator in Louise Erdrich’s The Strange People is characterized as a doe, a “lean gray witch” (i, 20) and finally, a “shadowy body.”(i, 25) Her own actions ultimately trigger this transformation, and are further emphasized through three jarring shifts within the poem. Despite portraying the narrator as prey in the beginning, she is not faultless. By placing double meanings on the word “burning,” (i, 6) it allows the self-destructive actions of the narrator to be evident. Also, by juxtaposing the cold and warmth described in the poem, the reasoning behind the doe’s self-destructive actions is explained, and ultimately paints her in a more nuanced light. Even so, her self-destructive actions highlight the consequences resulting from her attempt at self-preservation. She transforms into a “lean gray witch” to save herself, and yet it destroys her self-identity. The poem exposes the bleak yet nuanced consequences of destructive desires and self-preservation, and how even when necessary and justified, leads to the unfortunate loss of one’s identity. In the beginning of the poem, the narrator states that “all night [she is] the doe,” (i, 1) while also being aware of the hunter’s presence. Despite this knowledge, she is “burning to meet him,” (i, 6) and is consequently greeted by a jacklight and “then slung like a sack in the back of his pickup.” (ii, 11-12) This portrays the narrator as a victim, an innocent creature. Enjambment foreshadows her impending fate when she “have
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