Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

1252 Words Jul 8th, 2018 6 Pages
The fundamental characteristic of magical realism is its duality, which enables the reader to experience both the character’s past and the present. In the novel, Monkey Beach, Eden Robinson uses this literary device to address the the trauma and mistreatment of the Haisla community in Canada by unveiling the intimate memories of the protagonist, Lisamarie, and the resulting consequences of this oppression. Monkey Beach illustrates how abuse in the past leads to another form of self-medication in the future - a neverending, vicious cycle for the members of the Haisla community. Many characters in Monkey Beach are scarred from childhood sexual abuse and family neglect, and resort to drug and alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism. These …show more content…
From the tone of Mick’s voice, the alcohol acts a sedative to numb the pain from his past. This motive for drinking is also evident through Lisa’s brother, Jimmy, after he loses both his girlfriend, Adelaine, and his goal in becoming an Olympic swimmer. The legacy of residential school is also manifested in Trudy and Tab’s mother-daughter relationship. Tab becomes the victim of her mother’s psychological and emotional upheaval that is a result from her childhood. In the grip of alcohol, Trudy often mistreats Tab. Removed from a family environment and placed in a reformation school, individuals return not only emotionally and psychologically scarred, but also unable to reestablish their own functional family. Tab confesses to Lisa that she wishes she had a mother like hers, saying, “You’re lucky. You’re really lucky that your dad was too young to go to rez school. [...] Just Mick and my mum went and it fucked them up” (Robinson 254). Trudy’s sister Kate also notes that Trudy “thinks Mother’s dirt, while she goes out and parties and treats Tab worse than what she blames Mother for” (Robinson 285).
Aboriginal women is sexualized, assaulted, and mistreated in today’s society, and the novel portrays this inequity. Lisa’s friend, Erica, was in Terrace, when Lisa witnesses her being harassed by a group of white men. The men were teaching Erica how to “fuck a white man,” when Lisa intervenes. The men call the girls “a squaw, “cunt”, and “bitch” (Robinson 250). The