A Clash of Cultures and the Hope of Rebirth
In the playwrite Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, Thomson Highway focuses on the life style of seven native men in the Wasachigan Hill Indian Reserve in Ontario. In this play, there are six important male characters. Characters such as Big Joey, Spooky Lacroix Creature Nataways and Pierre St. Pierre adopt Christianity and the English language. While the characters Simon Starblanket, Zachary Jeremiah Keechigeesik try to revive the native culture, language and medicine. As the play begins Thomson Highway introduces the reader to this native community (that seems to be tight knit group of people, perhaps for all the wrong reasons). As the play progresses we realize that the Native figure of the Trickster is a predominantly female character named Nanabush. She is hard at work as she slips in and out of the realm of reality as the male characters begin to expose the complicated and dysfunctional relationships that are at the core of this Native community. Because the females are absent throughout the play, Nanabush always reappears as various female figures, helping to develop different situations as they arise and give a voice to the females in the play. While reading the playwrite we see many conflicts arise throughout, these conflicts can be described as poison within the community. We see examples of the poison through the inequality between genders in the play, alcohol abuse as a release and the importance of status within the community. However, Highway also gives examples of new beginnings and the opinions of some of the other natives within the native society that has hope for change.“Before the healing can take place, the poison must first be exposed” is an epigraph that Thomson highway included at the beginning of Dry Lips. The quote is based on traditional understanding that rashes caused by plants such as poison ivy cannot be treated without removing the oil causing the irritation. Although the...
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