Natalie M Phillips
English Research Paper
November 30, 2010
Imagine an Indian Reservation, what do you see? A tribe united, as if all were born from the same mother, inseparable, and connected in ways only the tribe’s members could appreciate. All of the tribe members gathered together to honor their ancestors and culture. This is what the majority would assume about Native Americans living on a reservation, but in Oral History by Louise Erdrich, the families living on this reservation have lives filled with betrayal, alcoholism, love, and triumph. The novel is told from many different characters’ point of view, ranging in a fifty year time frame, which makes Oral History distinctive. The National Book Critics Circle Award winning novel keeps the reader engaged throughout its fourteen chapters, as the novel ventures in a maze of interconnected short stories. As stated in a review about Love Medicine published by the Chicago Tribune, "A dazzling series of family portraits....This novel is simply about the power of love." Louise Erdrich received many awards, media attention, and positive reviews after publishing Love Medicine. She received praise for the novel’s writing style; she graces the pages with a true understanding of Native American culture depicted through the poetic style, dialect, tone, descriptions, and setting. Readers also appreciate how Erdrich describes the lives of two Chippewa families while trying to preserve their heritage while residing in modern-day society. In order to understand why Erdrich crafts such a unique and credible narrative, it is important to know her background. Erdrich’s mother was both French and Ojibwa, and her father was a German- American. Her grandfather was the Tribal Chairman for the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa Indians. Erdrich’s parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs School. Later, She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmoth College. While at Dartmoth, she met her...
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