Windflower: Cultural Assimilation and Elsa

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“Mixed Seed”

Like war and politics, cultural dominance is a very important way of assimilation in society. In the novel “Windflower”, Gabrielle Roy tries to show how one culture can influence another culture. In this novel, Roy develops the theme of cultural assimilation in Jimmys’ character by showing how his mother, Elsa, raises him, how the Inuit society treats him and how Jimmy feels about them. In this novel Elsa rears Jimmy in a way which was influenced by white culture. She was affected energetically by Madam Beaulieu and Mademoiselle Bourgoin. For instance; she caresses Jimmys’ hair as she had seen Madame Beaulieu do with her baby’s hair. (p.17) She buys Jimmy a playpen like the one which Madame Beaulieu imprisoned her youngest child. (p.34) Moreover, Elsa takes advice from no one but white people and she buys everything like the white people. For instance; Elsa always recalls herself that Mademoiselle Bourgoin said “girls in pink, boys in blue”. (p.18) Since Jimmy is a white; Elsa thinks that she has to treat him in a way that the white people treat their children. Although Jimmy is an infant and can not comprehends the way that his mother treats him and how she prides him, he feels delighted with the life that he has. For instance; At the moment the child Jimmy so conquered the hearts of the Eskimo people . . . Elsa followed him with her eyes, smiling and finding it very difficult not to look too proud. (p.18-19) Although this may be true Jimmy does not look like whom with Eskimo ethnic, Inuit society divines him. Moreover, the majority of the Inuit society accepts Jimmy, although he is not a pure Eskimo at least in his appearance. Certainly the Eskimo people have children and love them just as they were with their little dark faces and their dark hair but having Jimmy with white skin, blond hair and blue eyes in their arms is quite different matter. For instance; they do not know how to express it . . . it seems to them...
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