Analysis Of Waterlily By Ella Cara Deloria

1357 WordsOct 29, 20176 Pages
Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria tells the story of a young woman, Waterlily, and her family as they experience the every-day life on the prairie as Oceti Sakowin. Through the clever storytelling of Waterlily’s childhood, Deloria’s novel covers the Oceti Sakowin family life, camp circle, ceremonies, hunts, and war parties, and the introduction of white presence in the Midwest. Themes of reverence for tradition and honoring of beings and nature span the book; however, the story also exceptionally demonstrates the Oceti Sakowin way of life in a way that illuminates many of the beautiful pieces of the Oceti Sakowin culture. Waterlily displays two particularly significant aspects of the Oceti Sakowin culture: kinship and generosity. The story…show more content…
He also happened to be a man she had fancied in her girlhood, so she achieved her happily ever after with him and her baby boy. Deloria uses Waterlily to discuss the cornerstone value of kinship in the Oceti Sakowin culture. Throughout the story, Deloria professes that kinship required certain actions. Even as the story begins, with Blue Bird still carrying Waterlily in her womb, she sat painfully near to labor on the back of a horse and didn’t request a stop because it was her father-in-law that was leading her horse, and kinship required that she not speak to him (Deloria 4). According to the Oceti Sakowin rules of kinship, a daughter-in-law was to treat her father-in-law with what was called the rule of avoidance. She was to treat him with respect, but from a distance, and not to demand his attention (Deloria 165). The culture required this type of behavior to create an atmosphere of reverence for in-laws, which established a pattern for newlyweds to follow and eased the transition from living with their family to living with their new spouse. The Oceti Sakowin culture likes to suggest social norms; not to dictate the lives of the people, but rather to make it easier for people to know their place and proper actions for them to take. Although these cultural norms may not always feel ideal to the one expected to follow them, they often follow them regardless, because kinship demands obedience over comfort. In Blue Bird’s case, following this

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